Fox brass are getting more and more nervous about the way Simon Cowell is conducting this controversial but lucrative 7th series of The X Factor in the UK before the show comes to the U.S. in Fall 2011. Viewers are ringing up ITV and TV regulator Ofcom complaining that Sunday’s vote show was rigged. They’re mad because Treyc Cohen, 28, was booted off The X Factor after a sing-off with tabloid favourite Katie Waissel, whose panic attacks and other escapades make for better ratings than Cohen’s serviceable voice but dull presence. One judge abstained after two other judges, including Simon Cowell, voted to send Cohen home, and a fourth judge voted for her to stay. Had that judge not abstained, creating deadlock, then the public vote would have decided the winner, which would have been Cohen
This sounds like a conveniently timed media uproar just as Simon Cowell’s UK-broadcast The X Factor airs its first 2½ hour live show beginning tonight. Or else it’s the 5th recent TV scandal plaguing Cowell. In any case, Simon is defending his show’s producers after a UK newspaper claimed they knew one short-listed contestant faced deportation and told X Factor judge Cheryl Cole not to pick her. Instead, pop singer Cole chose two other contestants over viewer favourite Gamu Nhengu, the Zimbabwe-born 18 year old. Cowell told Deadline that it’s not true that the show’s producers ordered Cole to drop Nhengu. “We were unaware there would be any problem with her visa until this week,” he told Deadline.
The X Factor boss has allowed one contestant to stay on the show despite knowing she’s a hooker. “We haven’t banned prostitutes,” Cowell said. “If a person applies to The X Factor, it’s obvious they want to do something better with their life.” Nineteen year old Chloe Mafia (real name Chloe Heald) told judges she was jobless, and got through to the boot-camp stage despite audience boos. Tabloid newspapers are currently negotiating five-figure deals with the teenager about her more than 140 arrests. There’s already been scandal after scandal, some about audio enhancements used on the talent show. But, as Cowell knows, there’s no such thing as bad publicity.The X Factor, produced by Cowell’s production company Syco, is pulling in its highest Saturday night ratings of the series so far. The 5th episode of the singing competition peaked with an audience of nearly 13 million on ITV1 and a 52% audience share.