Monday, August 22, 2011

Fix Factor claims: Was Kitty Brucknell hand-picked by X Factor producers before the show started?

By Ben Todd and Liz Thomas

-Peak audience of 12.6million tune in to Saturday night's opening show

-Simon Cowell 'thrilled' with viewing figures and new judging panel

Scroll down for video

Put through: Kitty Brucknell on Saturday's show. She was one of the successes of the programme but reports suggest she was targeted by the show's producers

Television executives have been accused of targeting a professional singer to encourage her to enter The X Factor after spotting her in an internet video.

Kitty Brucknell was one of the successes of Saturday evening’s first programme of the series, with her performance of Lady Gaga’s Edge Of Glory. She has now been put through to the next stage.

Nevertheless, there have been suggestions Miss Brucknell – a professional impersonator of both Lady Gaga and Britney Spears – was ‘headhunted’ by producers, adding to claims the show is more stage-managed than it would like viewers to believe.

Previous series of the show have been dogged by claims of ‘The Fix Factor’, with allegations that executives manipulate the process to keep their favoured acts in to generate controversy and ratings, rather than those the public like.

It was claimed the TV executives had targeted Miss Brucknell, from Cheltenham, after seeing her singing in an internet video. Indeed, her mother Mary said: ‘She’d never thought about going on the show before.’

However, last night X Factor bosses insisted this was not the case. They claimed Miss Brucknell, 26, applied for the show via YouTube, a method which has been allowed for this series.

She's got legs: Contestant Kitty Brucknell impressed with her acapella version of Lady Gaga's Edge Of Glory

Quirky: Tulisa rightly pointed out that Kitty may be a bit of a 'Marmite' contestant

A TV source added: ‘Kitty seems to be making out to people she was approached, when she actually entered. She seems to be saying it just to make her look good.’

A Sunday newspaper yesterday claimed that Miss Brucknell is suffering under the pressure.

After her performance in front of 5,000 people at Wembley Arena, she was reportedly overheard sobbing: ‘This is the worst day of my life. The public are going to hate me.’

Despite the fixing claims, however, a peak audience of 12.6million tuned in to Saturday night's opening show, the same number as last year's programme.

Meet the panel: Louis Walsh, Kelly Rowland, Tulisa Constostavlos and Gary Barlow prepare to take a long, hard look at the contestants

Mr Nasty? Gary Barlow shares a joke with fellow judge Kelly Rowland

Former judge Simon Cowell, who is still heavily involved in the series, said he was 'thrilled' with the numbers.

He is quoted as telling The Sun: 'I'm thrilled with the numbers. The new judging team are doing a brilliant job and the show feels even better this year.

'With me not there, it has taken the age down considerably.

'We have four individuals being themselves. It is the public who will decide, but I am very pleased with the start. I want it to be ever more successful - but there is a side of me that wants to be missed.'

But the return of the show is proving as controversial as ever after it was filled with sleaze before the 9pm watershed.

The opening show saw one teenager boast of his sexual antics before baring his tattooed bottom, while another verbally abused the judging panel after apparently being wound up deliberately.

The good, the bad...: While Janet Devlin (left) won over the judges George Gerasimou offended them

The more controversial acts came despite executives being warned by the TV watchdog that overtly sexual or sleazy performances needed to be toned down following a deluge of complaints from viewers last year.

Ofcom ruled in April the final was ‘at the limit’ of acceptability for broadcast before 9pm for a family audience. They then held urgent talks with producers before Saturday’s opener to ensure there was no repeat. However, it appears they have paid little attention.

Despite the controversy, X Factor creator Simon Cowell yesterday declared himself thrilled with the new series. There had been fears there would be a ratings slump following his exit, along with those of two of his fellow judges, Cheryl Cole and Dannii Minogue.

However, the peak viewing figure was the same as last year’s while the average viewing figure was 11million – down 300,000 on last year. Cowell – now concentrating on launching a U.S. version of The X Factor – said: ‘I am thrilled with the numbers. The new judging team are doing a brilliant job and I think the show feels even better this year.’

The night was stolen by a shy 16-year-old girl from Northern Ireland who had never felt confident enough to perform publicly, before proving she had the voice of an angel. Janet Devlin, from Gortin, Omagh – who performed Elton John’s Your Song – admitted: ‘I’ve spent a lot of time by myself in my room, reading, writing and singing since I was seven.

‘It’s a lot easier to sing in the house than out in front of an audience.’

However, she proved a hit with all four judges: Louis Walsh, Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland, Take That’s Gary Barlow and N-Dubz singer Tulisa Contostavlos, the three new additions to the panel.

Janet also appears to have become an internet sensation, with thousands watching video clips of her songs on the YouTube website.

Yesterday, recalling her audition, she said: ‘My nerves totally took over, they totally absorbed me. Speaking to the judges was more scary than singing for them.’

The first episode was marred by a vitriolic attack on Miss Contostavlos by foul-mouthed contestant George Gerasimou, who branded her a ‘dog’ and a ‘scumbag’ after the judges said he could not sing and had a poor attitude.

Afterwards, the tattoo-covered 19-year-old from North London – who had auditioned in a previous series, launching an abusive tirade after being rejected – accused producers of purposely antagonising him to get ratings.

He said: ‘I feel 100 per cent the producers and judges wound me up to make better TV.

‘I feel like they taunted me when I was on the stage to get ratings up because they knew how I would react.’

Stage fright: Hong Kong born contestant Goldie Cheung was almost sick before she took to the stage for her audition

Quick recovery: However, she soon composed herself and gave an erm, energetic performance of a song no-one recognised


No comments:

Post a Comment