Tuesday 18 June 2019

'You are, you really are' - Simon Cowell told X Factor contestant she was overweight in throwback clip from 2004

Fellow judge Sharon Osbourne also told her to "go on a diet" while Louis Walsh said she was "mission impossible"

Samantha Reay auditioning for X Factor in 2004
Samantha Reay auditioning for X Factor in 2004
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

In the wake of #MeToo it would be inconceivable to imagine a reality show judge commenting on a contestant's appearance, but back in 2004 we didn't blink an eye when they did just that.

A clip from an episode of ITV's The X Factor, which aired in 2004, is gaining traction online due to the comments made by judges Simon Cowell and Sharon Osbourne about contestant Samantha Reay's weight.

Samantha delayed her honeymoon to audition with her version of Mariah Carey's hit Hero.

"I got married a week on Saturday," she told the cameras before her audition.  "I'm also supposed to be on our honeymoon in Barbados at the minute, but we cancelled it so I could come and do this!"

However, after she sang, Simon said, "You sound nice, but look like a shop girl.  That's the problem."

A visibly taken-aback Samantha said, "Okay, that's something that can be worked on" to which Simon replied, "Well, it's a lot of work."

Fellow judge Louis Walsh told her he thought she should have gone on her honeymoon as her audition was "nothing special".

In response to their criticism, Samantha said, "I know what you're saying."

Simon asked what were they saying and Samantha replied, "That I'm overweight, basically."

"You are, you really are," said Simon.

Louis Walsh said 'no' to letting her through to the next round and described her as "mission impossible".  Sharon Osbourne said she had a "lovely face and a lovely voice".

Simon sent her through to the next round because he said she had a "nice voice and I like her ambition" and said the final decision was down to Sharon, who added, "Missus, go on a diet, and I'll see you in the next round".

Speaking to Independent.ie on Tuesday, Samantha, who is now a mum of four, says that she was actually pregnant during her audition, but only found out later.

She got in touch with Russell Hayward, who tweeted the original clip, this week and said "You want to let everyone know I'm alive and kicking!!", adding, "It was brutal looking back but like a good wine I got better with age!!!"

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