September 24, 2011 18:51

Simon Cowell: 'Sometimes 'X Factor' crosses the line'

TV mogul admits regret over treatment of mentally unstable talent-show contestants

Simon Cowell: 'Sometimes 'X Factor' crosses the line'

Photo: Dean Chalkley

Simon Cowell has admitted X Factor crosses the line when it comes to treatment of some its more mentally unstable contestants.

Reacting to recent criticism that the talent show exploits delusional or fragile characters, he said it made him feel very uneasy.

Speaking to The Guardian, Cowell said: "Nothing is ever done too maliciously. I know sometimes we cross the line. We've had people who've come on and within five seconds we've said, 'Don't even go there. Too fragile'.

"I learned that with Susan Boyle. I remember the day after she came second and had that awful meltdown and I genuinely thought, 'Maybe we have failed here. Maybe we shouldn't be doing this.' But she wasn't a happy person."

The X Factor's most-recent controversy came after deluded hopeful Ceri Rees was mocked during yet another disastrous audition, an incident which involved Gary Barlow looking through the contents of the 53-year-old's handbag.

It was the fourth consecutive year Rees had been on the show and laughed at.

Cowell added:

I understand the influence we have. I'm also trying to think of it as an entertainment show.



Elsewhere in the interview, Cowell opened up about Cheryl Cole's departure from X Factor USA and revealed that he has paid off several ex-girlfriends.






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