The letter, published in today’s Daily Mirror, insisted the controversial sing-off introduced in last weekend’s semi-final was brought in “to stop the show becoming boring.”
X Factor semi-finals are usually decided by public vote alone, but last weekend the judges chose to hold a sing-off between the two acts with the lowest votes, leading to claims the show had been fixed to keep teenager Cher Lloyd in.
51-year-old Mary Byrne was given the boot, and the former Tesco worker later complained to The Mirror: “It’s a fix. It’s obvious Simon Cowell didn’t want me… I’m not as marketable to him as Cher.”
TV watchdog Ofcom confirmed it had received over 200 complaints about the incident, and ‘Hate Cher’ became one of the highest trending topics on social networking site Twitter.
But in his letter Simon Cowell begs fans not to switch off, saying: “We decided for the first time some weeks ago to put four people into the final [instead of the usual three] and this meant having five semi-finalists. We also felt it would be fairer that there would be a sing-off rather than automatic elimination as there were more contestants.
“The sing-off on Sunday was something that was always going to happen regardless of who was in the bottom two.”
He then continues: “I have always listened to and respected our viewers and have always believed viewers ultimately make the right decision. I hope the viewers trust the show that this is a fair competition.”
The X Factor final this weekend is set to become one of the most lucrative TV shows of all time, with The Daily Mail reporting ITV could make a huge £25 million in advertising revenues alone.
20 million viewers are expected to watch the Sunday night final, with Matt Cardle the bookies favourite to win at 5/6. Singers Christina Aguilera and Cher are rumoured to guest star.