X Factor 'fix' claims after vote results published before live show results
X FACTOR has been accused of vote-rigging after the results of the show’s weekend phone poll, which saw contestant Amelia Lily voted back on to the show, were revealed online an hour before phonelines closed.
A story was published on the website of STV, which broadcasts ITV shows in Scotland, announcing the teenager as the winner of the vote to replace axed Frankie Cocozza with one of four former contestants.
The TV channel apologised for the blunder but disappointed fans accused the programme of vote-fixing.
It was the second glitch to hit X Factor during the sixth live round of the series, after a technical fault delayed the show's start time by 15 minutes.
STV said the story was not meant to be published but had gone online due to a "technical hitch". It said pre-written pieces about all four contestants had gone live on the website.
The channel said in a statement: "The STV web team prepared stories regarding each contestant in anticipation of the result and due to a technical hitch, all four stories went live on our website.
"We would stress that this was purely a technical hitch and for this we apologise."
Amelia, Jonjo Kerr, 2 Shoes and James Michael were all in with a chance of returning to the competition after Cocozza, 18, was ousted last week.
The controversial teenager was axed from the show amid allegations that he boasted about taking cocaine in front of production staff.
But the blunder left a number of fans confused about whether the X Factor public vote was genuine. Many took to Twitter to express their annoyance, claiming the show was a "fix".
Darren Ruback tweeted: "Not sure how the result has been leaked by STV when ITV are still asking you to call. Fix!"
Twitter user Maggie Mayy wrote: "'Amelia Lily was voted back in' was published by accident on X Factor website while voting lines were still open. FIX FACTOR?!"
X Factor bosses insisted the phone lines were still open at the time, posting on the micro-blogging site: "Voting is still open for your favourite act to return!! A video was just released by mistake! #toomanytechnicaldifficulties keep voting."
Amelia, who sang Queen's The Show Must Go On, was later declared the winner with 48 per cent of the calls.
She told viewers: "I have been so emotional back stage - thank you to everyone who voted for me."
At the start of the show, millions of viewers were forced to watch a highlights reel as a technical failure at BT Tower, caused by an "unusual power spike", disrupted the broadcast.
The show finally came on air 15 minutes late with an apology from host Dermot O'Leary.
A spokesman for BT said the company was looking into the cause of the power outage.
He added: "We can confirm that there was an unusual power spike this evening which disrupted services from the BT Tower for a short time."
An ITV spokesman said: "The problem, which was caused by a power failure at BT Tower was outside of ITV and the producers’ control. It was resolved as quickly as possible."