Claims that 'X Factor' reject Gamu Nhengu was kicked off the show because of worries over her immigration status were rubbished today as the clamour for her to be re-instated grew.
Around 90,000 more people signed up overnight to a Facebook group called ’Gamu should have got through, which today had more than 130,000 members.
Cheryl Cole told Nhengu she could not take her any further forward in the search for a singing star but fans have not given up on the 18-year-old student, who left her native Zimbabwe for Scotland five years ago.
It has been reported that Cole was influenced by fears that Nhengu’s visa will shortly run out and may not be renewed, but a spokeswoman for the ITV1 talent show said: “Gamu’s visa being processed was not the reason that she didn’t make the final 12.”
At least one of the show’s rejects will return as a wildcard entry this weekend and bookmakers clearly think Nhengu will get a second chance.
Paddy Power are offering odds of 11 to 2 on her winning the show – better odds than the 18 to 1 offered on Katie Waissel, who got through at Gamu’s expense.
A spokeswoman for the firm said: “She has been by far the most consistent act and the most popular with punters. Viewers can relax – Gamu is still very much in the game.”
Painter and decorator Matt Cardle is the favourite to win at 11 to 4.
The final 32 acts were whittled down to 12 on Sunday’s show and the pressure will now build in earnest as they face the nerve-shredding prospect of appearing live on the nation’s television screens.
There was no shortage of tension as the final 12 were announced.
Cole, who made her name as an ITV talent show winner with group Girls Aloud on Popstars: The Rivals, dramatically broke down in tears during the decision-making progress, but quickly regained her composure to lambast Waissel for being “a little bit annoying”.
Cole told her: “First of all I want to say it’s been a pleasure to get to know you as a person.
“I think you’re quirky, I think you’re original, I think there’s something very intriguing about you, but I also have to say that there’s a little something that I think people could find, if I’m being brutally honest, a little bit annoying.
“Also sometimes when I’m talking to you there’s always something that I don’t believe.”
Cole also gave Cher Lloyd, 17, the green light to go on to the next stage even though the teenager has spent the last few days battling a throat infection.
Judge Louis Walsh chose 30-year-old care home worker John Adeleye from London as one of the three in the over-28s category to go through.
He also decided that Dubliner Mary Byrne, 50, who makes her living in a supermarket, had made the grade.
The 12 acts who will go through to the live finals are:
FYD (For Your Direction)