It’s been a bit of a roller-coaster ride for The X Factor’s newbie host Olly Murs and now he’s admitted that even his Mum called him “a plonker” after his embarrassing mix-up on the show two weeks ago, although she later leapt to his defence when he was attacked for the gaffe on social media.

The 31-year-old singer, who replaced former presenter Dermot O’Leary, told contestant Monica Michael that she was going home rather than facing a public vote. When she was then knocked out after losing the vote – before returning as a wildcard this week – Murs found himself accused of letting slip that the show was rigged.

But Murs, himself the runner-up on the sixth series of The X Factor in 2009 and whose record sales are upwards of 10 million copies, insisted he was just muddled.

“It was a pivotal moment and I just got confused about what was happening next.” 

“I said the wrong words to Simon (Cowell) and I just lost the plot and said, ‘OK Monica, I’m so sad to see you go,’ when I should have said, ‘We’re going to deadlock’.

“In my earpiece I was being told by the production team I’d made a mistake – but they didn’t say what the mistake was. I was completely confused.”

Murs’ mother phoned him afterwards to scold him, he revealed. “She said, ‘You plonker. What were you thinking?’ But then the whole storm blew up, she became quite defensive of me. I mean the reaction was a bit much.”

Murs, who with current X Factor co-host Caroline Flack previously presented spin-off series The Xtra Factor, said: “People on Twitter were outraged, saying, ‘He should be sacked, he’s rubbish’.

“By the end of it, I wanted to say, ‘Here you go, here’s my mic, next Saturday you get up and do it’. They have no idea what sort of pressure there is on that show.

“It was no secret I was learning on the job, and I think I’ve done pretty well considering. I’m sure if you look at clips of Dermot at the beginning, he wouldn’t be as slick as he was by the end.

“We all make mistakes. I’ve been amazed at the number of presenters who’ve Tweeted me to say: ‘It happens to us all’ – including Dermot, Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby.”

The X Factor continues tonight on ITV at 8pm