Belfast Telegraph

X Factor's Conor McGinty and Niall Sexton hit all wrong notes offstage

By Lisa Smyth

Two musicians from Northern Ireland have made it through to the X Factor boot camp after wowing judges in the first round of the ITV talent show.

However, Conor McGinty and Niall Sexton have already become embroiled in controversy after they were accused of posting less than complimentary remarks about the programme and the judges on social media.

After years of trying to make the big time and appearing on Saturday night's programme, the pair have had their first taste of celebrity - but not for their musical performances.

Instead, it has been claimed that 21-year-old X Factor hopeful Conor, from Londonderry, could be facing the axe from the show after the Daily Star claimed he "posted a string of anti-gay comments" and even branded X Factor judge Louis Walsh a "w*****".

The show's bosses are said to be looking into the claims.

Conor - a photographic assistant - has spoken out in a bid to defend himself and has apologised for his words.

"The tweets were sent years ago and were only meant in jest," he said.

"I apologise if I've caused any offence."

Conor managed to impress the judges with his performance of Say Something by A Great Big World and actually received applause from all four of the judges.

Ironically, Louis Walsh was full of praise, telling the Derry lad his rendition of the hit song was "magic", as an emotional looking Conor appeared to fight back tears.

Meanwhile, Niall Sexton's future on the show is uncertain as it emerged he had appeared on the show in 2011 and lost out on a place at the judge's house.

At the time, he hit out and accused the programme makers of "hiding him".

Writing on Twitter, he said: "I was on UK X Factor - but got a hidin' as Janet Devlin is Irish too. So they hid me."

Despite the controversy, it appears as though the barman from Magherafelt, Co Londonderry, has already won a high-profile fan in the form of one of X Factor's biggest breakout acts, Fleur East.

The 28-year-singer tweeted her support after watching him perform Gravity by Sara Bareille, saying: "I really like this guy's voice! It's really quirky. Yes Niall Sexton!"

Niall certainly impressed the judges, with Simon Cowell telling him: "You have a beautiful voice, you're different. I think you've got real class. I like you."

Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger said: "I felt every single word from you. I just love you." While Louis told him he was a "great, great singer".

The two lads have recently been pictured with a former X Factor reject Janet Grogan, who made a triumphant return to the programme on Saturday.

Blowing the judges away with her rendition of Zayn Malik's Pillowtalk, the starlet not only got four thumbs up, but managed to get Simon to confess he had been wrong.

Janet first auditioned for the series two years ago, and was sent home by Simon during the six-chair challenge.

However, he quickly followed his decision with a tweet saying he regretted getting rid of her, prompting her to return for this series.

Her determination paid off as the media mogul's eyes lit up as he recognised her.

After she finished singing, he said: "At least I can admit to my mistakes. I was always praying you'd come back to the audition room."

Belfast Telegraph


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