X Factor star Johnny in benefits probe for 'bad back' claim after lively dance routine
Published 28/10/2011 | 09:36
LOUIS WALSH's X Factor hopeful Johnny Robinson is facing allegations of benefits fraud after performing on the show despite claiming benefits for a back problem, it has been reported.
The contestant is said to be under investigation after he was spotted dancing energetically on the show
The singer, 45, a former drag queen, is allegedly under investigation by welfare inspectors after an acquaintance spotted him dancing energetically on stage.
Johnny is said to claim £94.25 a week for a serious back problem known as spondylitis, an inflammation of the vertebrae that is linked to arthritis.
The condition causes stiffening of the spine and would have prevented the popular contestant from performing his athletic routines on the live X Factor shows, the Sun claims.
He is said to have been called before officials to face an "urgent reassessment" of his condition to see if he remains a genuine claimant of incapacity benefits.
Iain Duncan Smith, the UK work and pensions secretary, is said to have "hit the roof" when officials told him of their suspicions about Johnny.
The minister demanded an immediate investigation into his claim in light of the allegations, the Sun reports.
It is believed that X Factor producers have known about Johnny's benefits payments since he started the show, and they are said to have urged him to contact the Department for Work and Pensions.
A friend told the newspaper that Johnny takes "heavy duty painkillers" to treat his condition.
"His back is so troubling for him he prefers to sleep on the floor," the friend added.
This is not the first time the X Factor has hit the headlines over a contestant's alleged benefits claims.
Last year, it was reported that Brazilian singer Wagner Carrilho was receiving payments for a frozen shoulder while performing on the show.
Johnny received positive feedback from the judges for his rendition of the Darkness song 'I Believe In A Thing Called Love' as part of the show's rock week last weekend.
His performance saw him dancing around the stage and gesturing at the judges after being lowered on to the stage by crane.
Welsh singer Sami Brookes became the latest act to be voted off the X Factor on Sunday after she was eliminated by the judges following a low public vote.
The show continues to lose the ratings battle against BBC series Strictly Come Dancing, with audience figures down by nearly two million since 2010.