The X Factor judges' decisions on who made the final 12 have resulted in Cheryl Cole being caught up in a race row. Less than 48 hours after Cole's decision to axe 18-year-old Zimbabwean Gamu Nhengu, more than 138,000 people joined the 'Gamu should have got through' group on Facebook. ITV is said to have rejected claims in the press that Nhengu was kicked off the show because of worries about her immigration status.
HOW I SEE IT
NICK EDE, Creative director, EdenCancan
I do not believe that Cheryl Cole is racist. Unfortunately, the 'toilet attendant' incident that happened back in 2003 is always going to loom over her. It seems the public is always keen to point the finger and blame someone and Cole happens to be in the firing line.
Cole has put Rebecca Ferguson, who is mixed race, through to her final three, so the media and public storm surrounding Cole's dismissal of Nhengu is pure hype to raise interest.
The X Factor is as much about hype and ratings as it is about talent, and this reaction is causing water cooler moments all over the UK. The controversy surrounding the judges' choices is always of interest and there will always be media stories to fuel the public's interest in the build-up to the first live shows. It's a win for The X Factor but a loss for Cole.