Simon Cowell’s lawyers are set to appeal the decision to deport The X Factor contestant Gamu Nhengu back to Zimbabwe, according to the papers.

The Sun reports that the mogul has ordered his legal team to challenge the Home Office ruling that the 18-year-old singer and her family must leave the UK, after her mother’s visa application was turned down.

It was revealed on Friday that Gamu, who has lived in the UK for eight years, plans to appeal against the decision.

“We are helping Gamu and her family as much as possible and have lawyers working with her lawyers,” Simon Cowell said.

“It’s not because we have to but because I really feel for their situation, and that’s outside of the show.

And a show insider added, “There is no obligation but it is a natural human thing to offer help, even though she is no longer a part of the TV show.”

Meanwhile Cheryl Cole has defended her decision to axe Gamu from the show in favour of finalists Cher Lloyd and Katie Waissel.

“I understand why everybody felt strongly towards Gamu,” she said. “I thought she was great too.

However she denied that the teenager’s situation had anything to do her decision. “I am incredibly sad for Gamu and her family,” Cheryl added, “but I have to stress it did not have any influence over my choice.”

Meanwhile the Mirror reports that X Factor bosses have pleaded with Gamu to return and audition next year, as they are convinced she could win the show.

“Bosses are keen to stay on side with Gamu now,” said a source. “They want to help her stay in the UK and bring her to auditions next year. They know it would make a great story and Gamu would have a good chance.”