CONTESTANTS in X Factor do not progress unless they have a good "sob story", says Dublin teenager Melanie McCabe.
Hundreds of thousands of Irish viewers saw the talented singer sent home after judge Kelly Rowland said she wasn't ready for the live finals.
This was the second time Melanie failed to get through to the live finals -- and she has vowed to never audition again for X Factor as she doesn't believe it focuses on talent.
"The show is not fully about your voice -- so much of it is to do with how good your sob story is," Melanie revealed.
"It was devastating for me not to get through -- it's really tough and I don't think it's very fair.
"A lot of people who audition go in with trauma or a dramatic story -- I wanted to go in without any of that and just prove myself with my talent, but I should've known better.
"My mum agrees that it's all just about entertaining TV -- if I sang as well as Whitney Houston I doubt it would've made a difference."
The former contestant, from Whitehall, first featured on the series in 2008, but was turned away.
Returning to compete in this year's X Factor, she wowed the judging panel with a world-class audition in Manchester.
"I genuinely feel that I sang well --I got standing ovations from all the judges and hit all the high notes too," Melanie revealed.
"I'd definitely advise anyone who's thinking about going for it, to have a big story or they won't get anywhere."
Despite beating thousands of hopefuls into the last 32, Melanie said she found the journey extremely difficult and, in retrospect, would prefer to go down the old-fashioned route to succeed in the industry. She said: "Looking back on it, you're better off going down the real artist route like Adele, and not entering a competition.
"Yes, it can be harder, but at the same time if you can take on the X Factor, you can take on anything.
"With the amount of filming you do, as well as the early starts, you're just treated like a prop that's there to make them money.
"You have to be prepared for that -- it's not all fun and games."
But the eager performer has decided not to let her recent stumble bring her down, declaring that she would like to prove to music bosses she has a gift.
"The plan is to keep going -- this is my dream and hopefully people will spot me and give me a chance."
The singer is hoping to perform for her fans this weekend and is tipped to give her first Irish television interview on the Saturday Night Show with Brendan O'Connor.
"I think X Factor hid my talent, they didn't show any of my range and I feel they hid that I have a big voice.
"I want to show people what they missed, so I'm planning to sing One Night Only by Jennifer Hudson -- I did that on the series but it didn't air.
"I'm not deluded, but it is very frustrating that they only showed snippets."