X Factor fans' fury as Cheryl Cole snubs contestant Gamu Nhengu
The X Factor finals have not even begun but already the judges' decisions have proved controversial as almost 150,000 people joined a Facebook protest in support of a contestant who did not make the final 12.
Less than 48 hours after Zimbabwean teenager Gamu Nhengu was axed from the show by judge Cheryl Cole, more than 138,000 people had registered their disappointment on the Facebook page.
Fans were furious that Cole decided to reject the 18-year-old, from Tillicoutry in Clackmannanshire, in favour of three other hopefuls despite being identified as a potential winner of the show.
Viewers who joined the online protest were particularly angry that Nhengu, whose audition was largely impressive, was spurned in favour of Cher Lloyd, who was barely able to sing due to nerves and a throat infection, and Katie Waissel, who appeared to forget her words.
Within hours of the programme being screened on Sunday night, tens of thousands of people had joined the Facebook page "Gamu should have got through".
One user, Dorothy Law, wrote: "Gamu should have gone through she was brilliant, far better than some of the others. Don't know what Cheryl is thinking."
But Nhengu, who Cole described as having "star quality", could be handed a lifeline with rumours that, for the first time, each judge will be given a "wild card" to select an extra fourth contestant, in a bid to liven up the show's format.
The teenager moved to Britain in 2005 when her mother won a place to study at Stirling University.