Nikk Mager – the former boyband star who was sensationally rejected at the first round of X Factor auditions – has vowed to prove the judges wrong, declaring “I’ll be the next Darius.”

More than 12 million people watched on Saturday night as judges Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh and Dannii Minogue gave Nikk the thumbs down – but Cheryl Cole refused to judge Nikk as the pair had met on a previous talent show.

Nikk and Cheryl both appeared on Popstars: The Rivals in 2002 – but while Cheryl went on to achieve global stardom with Girls Aloud, Nikk only enjoyed modest success in boyband Phixx and now performs in working men’s clubs.

But Nikk claimed that he had been ‘cheated’ at the X Factor auditions and slated Simon and Louis who declared his dream was over – insisting he could become as big as Pop Idol underdog Darius, who came third in the 2002 series.

Nikk, of Halifax, West Yorkshire, told The Sun: “It was a total stitch up – I was cheated. As soon as I walked in, Simon recognised me and I just knew it was downhill from there.

“It was such a cold atmosphere I could tell he and Louis didn’t want to give me a chance because I’d been on a reality show before.

“And because Cheryl knew me they wanted to wind her up for the cameras to make good telly.”

He added: “Simon knew me but it never came across – I’ve been to his house twice and had dinner there.

“They didn’t mention the two-and-a-half years I spent in Phixx, our top ten single – or the number one album in South Africa. They just tried to take the Mickey out of me by showing me in a half empty working men’s club.

“They wanted it to look like my life was in the pits. I was just a pawn in their game – it was humiliating.”

Despite Simon’s comments, Nikk vows to pursue a record deal. Nikk said: “I have got a lot of interest from people in the business and I’m confident there will be some movement.

“My aim is to be like Darius. He was seen as a laughing stock when he did Popstars but came back for Pop Idol and made a success out of himself.

“I’ll prove them wrong. I’ll show I can be a success. It’ll be sweet revenge. I know I can sing – people wouldn’t pay me to perform if I couldn’t.”