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Simon Cowell's 'X Factor' voting decision sparks rigging accusations


By Christopher Rocchio, 11/09/2009 

Simon Cowell is being accused of rigging the results of his The X Factor U.K. reality series.

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The accusations surfaced after Cowell -- who created the British reality singing competition and also serves as its lead judge -- decided against saving Lucie Jones during this weekend's The X Factor broadcast and instead cast his vote for twins John and Edward Grimes despite his previous repeated criticism of the them during the ITV show's sixth season.

Cowell's decision forced a deadlock between the judges -- which meant home viewer votes broke the tie and resulted in Jones (the lowest vote-getter) being ousted.

Ofcom, the U.K.'s television industry regulator, is currently considering whether to launch an investigation into the accusations that The X Factor is "fixed" after receiving more than 50 viewer complaints in less than 24 hours, Britain's the Daily Mail newspaper reported Monday.

"There are a number of complaints which we are looking into," an Ofcom spokesperson told the Daily Mail, which gave its report a "Farce Factor" headline.

The incident began when the Grimes twins and Jones were revealed to have been the two acts that received the lowest number of home viewer votes and it would be up to the show's judges -- Cowell, pop star Cheryl Cole, manager Louis Walsh and actress Dannii Minogue --  to decide the outcome. However if the judges split the vote, it would force a deadlock and the contestant with the lowest number would be booted.

With the vote at 2-1 in favor of Jones, Cowell decided to cast his vote for the Grimes twins and The X Factor host Dermot O' Leary revealed they had more votes than Jones -- giving her the boot.

Cowell subsequently explained his decision by claiming "I'd probably rather see the boys" next week, according to the Daily Mail, which added the American Idol judge had previously called the Grimes twins "horrors" and told them they "couldn't sing" during a previous The X Factor broadcast.

In addition, Cowell had also previously warned he would leave the country if the Grimes twins were to win The X Factor's sixth season.

"If they win, it will be a complete and utter disaster," said Cowell last month, the Daily Mail reported. "I'll probably sulk for about six months and get on a very fast plane out of the country."

Some of the speculation about Cowell's motives for voting for the Grimes twins instead of Jones has included that he views them as a "money-making novelty chart act" and feels they would be a better draw during The X Factor's post-show concert tour, according to the Daily Mail. In addition, Cowell reportedly viewed Jones as a threat to The X Factor sixth-season acts he has endorsed.

Cowell defended his decision during a post-show interview with ITV2's The Xtra Factor companion show and said he originally suspected the Grimes twins would have had fewer home viewer votes than Jones.

"I wasn't expecting that result. If I had to gamble I would have gone the other way,"  he said, the Daily Mail reported.

Cowell might not have been expecting Jones to be booted, but she apparently was anticipating it.

"There was no way John and Edward had the least amount of votes," she said on ITV's This Morning, the Daily Mail reported.  "Everyone loves them and I tried to deal with it before Dermot turned to speak to me... but I kinda knew."

This is the second consecutive week that Ofcom has been contacted about a deadlock caused by Cowell.

Cowell created The X Factor and has served as a judge on the series since it premiered in September 2004.  His 20 million pound deal with ITV ends in December after the show's sixth season concludes and, according to previous reports, Cowell has decided it will be the last season on which he will serve as a judge.

This past summer it was reported that Cowell was in talks with U.S. networks about launching The X Factor stateside.  As part of negotiations for his new American Idol deal with Fox, Cowell was reportedly attempting to bring The X Factor to the network.

(Photo credit Fox)


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