Cheryl Cole has accepted full responsibility for rejecting Gamu Nhengu from The X Factor – but has reportedly claimed she was pressurised to do so.

She said on Saturday night’s live show that it was her decision alone and that she stood by it.

“I could not be happier or prouder,” she told viewers. “Each one of my girls have done me justice.”

However The Sunday Mirror reports that she has told friends she was pressured into choosing Katie Waissel over Gamu at the judges’ houses, due to “issues” over the 18-year-old’s visa.

“She has been made the fall guy in all this. Her decision came down to a choice between Katie and Gamu,” a friend of the star told the paper.

“She was struggling to choose between both girls as her third act.

“But at this point producers stepped in and told Cheryl there were concerns over Gamu’s visa and that for that reason Katie was the safer option.”

The friend added that Cheryl had high hopes for Gamu – but was not totally convinced by her.

“She wasn’t sure Gamu had the X Factor or that she was right to be one of her walk-in final three. It turned out her own opinion was irrelevant and even if Gamu had been right to pick, Cheryl’s hands were tied.”

It has since emerged that Cheryl would have considered giving the 18-year-old the ‘wild card’ entry to the final.

However she has since been unable to do so after Gamu and her family were told they face deportation back to Zimbabwe. Instead, she chose Treyc Cohen as her fourth girl finalist.