The X Factor's Goldie Cheung has confirmed she has left the high-rating show, but has denied it was because she was being portrayed as a joke act, similar to Wagner on last year's version.

The 48-year-old instead has blamed her withdrawal from the live finals series, a position some contenstants would sell their own mother to get to, on being homesick.

She said: "I have decided to withdraw from the competition because I

knew I would miss my family so much. I wish all the finalists the best

of luck and look forward to watching them every week.

"The X Factor has been a fantastic experience and very challenging for

me at times. I was very grateful to Louis for offering me a place in

the final, however.'

Judge Louis Walsh, who is this year mentoring the Overs category which Goldie was part of, said he was disappointed with, but respectful of, her decision.

"It was such a shame Goldie had to pull out of the competition," Walsh said. "I thought she had great potential to entertain viewers in the live shows."

Immediately after her announcement, her fans took to twitter to express their owm disppointment.

wrote: "GOLDIE IS MY HERO. If I could be like her when I grow up, that would be superb."

"Can Goldie Cheung get her own reality show?

: "Crying because of what happened to Goldie Cheung.:(:( I loved her!"

Goldie, whose lust for judge Gary Barlow  manifested itself in her chasing the Take That singer around Wembley Arena on last night's bootcamp show, was adamant her decision was not based on her being treated like a novelty act, something for people to laugh at.

A source intially told media outlets Cheung's move caused by discussions with her husband, David Webb, 52, who used to work for Chris Patten, the former British Governor of Hong Kong. Mr Patten is now chairman of the BBC.

Following a series of talks with her husband, Hong Kong-born Cheung concluded she was being used as a figure of fun – like last year's tone-deaf act Wagner Carrilho – rather than a serious contender, it was reported.