X Factor judge Cheryl Cole has backed gay X Factor contestants, following the row which erupted after Dannii Minogue ‘outed’ finalist Danyl Johnson.

Speaking to Attitude magazine, Cole said, “You are what you are. You shouldn’t have to explain either way, whether you’re straight or gay. It shouldn’t be an issue.

“It should be a case of you’re talented. People like you. Full stop. You shouldn’t have to explain.”

Dannii caused controversy after remarks she made to the 27-year-old following his rendition of the Dreamgirls song And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going on last Saturday’s show.

After Johnson changed the lyrics of the song to make it about a woman instead of a man she told him, “If you’re to believe everything you read in the papers, then you didn’t need to change the gender references in the song.”

She later apologised for the comment, which prompted more than 4000 complaints.

Meanwhile Johnson has vowed to win over the judges after both Louis Walsh and Cheryl Cole accused him of lacking the “likeability factor”.

“Louis and Cheryl, I have to try to get them on my side and I don’t know how to do it,” he said.

“I need to bake them a cake or something, or buy her some expensive jewellery. I’ll do my best.”

Danyl is currently favourite to win the show, according to bookmakers Paddy Power. Essex girl Stacey Solomon is now second favourite.

Twins John and Edward are favourites to be eliminated this week, with Paddy Power offering odds of 13-8 on the pair getting the boot. Rikki Loney is second favourite to go at 2-1.