Belfast Telegraph

X Factor star removed from Miss GB

Eccentric X Factor hopeful Shirlena Johnson has been thrown out of this year's Miss Great Britain contest after organisers discovered her real age when they watched her TV audition.

Millions of viewers saw Shirlena, a single mother, get through to the boot camp stage of the X Factor on Saturday night after she performed, in leopard skin leggings, a bizarre rendition of the Duffy track Mercy.

Shirlena told the X Factor judges that she was 30, but the age on her online Miss Great Britain form was 28, said a spokeswoman for the contest, which is for those aged 29 and under.

The aspiring star had applied for the competition in February and was due to compete in the next regional heat, Miss Essex GB, on Saturday, spokeswoman Charlotte Ellis said. She had failed to get through the Miss London and Miss South East regional heats.

Miss Great Britain chief executive Liz Fuller said: "It's such a shame to lose Shirlena, though she did apologise. I have great warmth for this girl as being one of the most eccentric contestants I had. I hope the advice I gave will help her."

Simon Cowell, who voted Shirlena through, told her: "It was like a musical exorcism," but added: "I have to say I love you. You are completely crazy but I like that. You are fantastically nuts."

A friend of Johnson, who has a three-year-old daughter, said she had put down her age incorrectly on the Miss Great Britain form and had tried without success to correct it.

Ron Street said: "She put down the wrong age and tried to correct it but couldn't get back online. She gave her right age on the X Factor so there was no deliberate lying."

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