Simon Cowell sparks fury on The X Factor when he lets a contestant through to the next stage – before changing his mind because she’s pregnant.

Katie Boothand, 24, from Skegness, is five and a half months pregnant when she auditions, leaving open the possibility that she could have her baby during a live show.

Before her audition, Simon tells her: “I’m working out the dates here, not great dates are they?”.

The aspiring singer jokes that she could have the first child born on the hit show and launches into a rendition of Faith Hill’s There You’ll Be.

Simon says Katie suffers from a bad lisp but that she has a good singing voice and is ‘very likeable’ – and with only one ‘no’ from judge Dannii Minogue the singer learns she’s got through to the next stage.

But after she leaves the room, the panel has doubts and Simon goes outside to tell her: “I think we’ve made a mistake.

“I’m thinking about you and the kid and everything and I think this is absolutely the wrong thing to do.”

Katie is devastated and her fiance is furious.

Simon later defends his U-turn, saying: “This is a girl who would have given birth to her baby in the middle of the X Factor finals.

“The stress she would have been under would have been unspeakable. You cannot put a competition like this or your ambition over the fact you’re about to have a baby. It is crazy.”