The X Factor is in hot water after judge Cheryl Cole put Cher Lloyd and Katie Waissel into the finals at the expense of Gamu Nhengu.

Both Lloyd and Waissal gave shoddy performances at Cheryl’s house on Saturday in front of Cole and her assistant Cher, who had a sore throat, was in tears and was unable to carry on while Katie forgot words and also broke down halfway through her song.

Gamu, meanwhile, gave a faultless performance, leading viewers to ask if Cheryl’s decision is based on generating headlines rather than actual talent.

Gamu, 18, told a friend: “I can’t believe it’s over. I just don’t know what to say.”

Meanwhile, mental health charities have voiced concern over Cher Lloyd’s ability to cope with the pressure of the X Factor. The 17-year-old has been assigned a counsellor to support her 24-hours a day but charity Kidscape told The Sun: “It sounds like she’s too vulnerable – further exposure seems quite risky and foolhardy.”

Cheryl’s decision to put through Katie Waissal has also been controversial. X Factor bosses came under pressure to disqualify her after it emerged she has a record deal in America under the name of Lola Fontaine.

To add to the furore, some fans are claiming that Cheryl’s decision to axe Gamu was racist. The X Factor judge appeared in court in 2003 for allegedly attacking a black washroom attendant in a Guildford nightclub. It was reported that Cheryl screamed racist abuse at the girl, although the court found her not guilty of racially aggravated assault.

A fan wrote on Digital Spy’s forum: “If these decisions were made on US X-Factor, there’d be a race riot.

“I swear to god, African-Americans would go mental….way too many blatant examples of less talented white acts getting in over more talented black contestants.

“Simon really needs to make sure something like this doesn’t happen on the US show, because it won’t be glossed over like it will be in this country.

(Choosing) Katie over Gamu was just shocking.”

However, other fans have pointed out that Cheryl can’t be racist as she is close friends with and was married to Ashley Cole.

Over 33,000 people have joined a Facebook group called ‘Gamu should have got through’ and they may still get their way, as it’s expected that judges will choose a ‘wildcard’ to put through from each category this week.

Cheryl Cole at London book signing 
Cheryl Cole banned from sex and booze

Frankie Mullin