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.