The X Factor judges are reportedly at loggerheads over the treatment of contestant Tamera Foster – suggesting that she is being given preferential treatment to the other acts.
According to The Sun Gary Barlow, Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh have complained that the 16-year-old gets extra rehearsal time and special attention from backstage staff because Simon Cowell’s company Syco is convinced she is the only potential chart star in the line-up.
And a show source told the paper it is making for a tense atmosphere backstage – particularly given last weekend’s results which saw Tamera in the sing-off against Kingsland Road.
“After Tamera was in the bottom two last week a lot of people close to Simon Cowell realised there was a serious chance she could get the boot,” the insider told the paper.
“They don’t want to let that happen so they have been going to extra lengths to make her comfortable. The feeling at Syco is that the only contestant with a chance in hell of becoming a pop star who could sell records is Tamera.”
However another source added that this had left the judges fuming.
“It’s nothing personal against Tamera, or even Nicole Scherzinger, but the other judges believe every contestant should be treated the same way,” the insider explained. “At the end of the day it’s down to the public to decide who should and shouldn’t be voted off the show.”
Meanwhile the source added that Kingsland Road’s departure last Sunday had left a gloomy atmosphere in the finalists’ house – comparing it to a ‘morgue’.
An X Factor spokesman denied that Tamera had been favoured over the others, telling The Sun: “All contestants are given the same rehearsal time and Tamera has not had any additional time or been given any special treatment.”
Meanwhile Tamera has spoken out over claims that she is a bully, after previous reports that she was cautioned by police for an attack on another teenage girl last year.
She told the Mirror that she had been the target of online abuse over the stories about the attack on 15-year-old Holly Wilks – calling the slurs ‘horrible’.
“People tell me I don’t deserve to be in the X Factor, that I’m a bully. It’s horrible because I can’t defend myself,” she said.
“It’s a vicious cycle. They call me a bully and then they are bullying back.”
The show continues with the return of the ever-popular big-band week at 8pm on ITV.