This sounds like a conveniently timed media uproar just as Simon Cowell’s UK-broadcast The X Factor airs its first 2½ hour live show beginning tonight. Or else it’s the 5th recent TV scandal plaguing Cowell. In any case, Simon is defending his show’s producers after a UK newspaper claimed they knew one short-listed contestant faced deportation and told X Factor judge Cheryl Cole not to pick her. Instead, pop singer Cole chose two other contestants over viewer favourite Gamu Nhengu, the Zimbabwe-born 18 year old. Cowell told Deadline that it’s not true that the show’s producers ordered Cole to drop Nhengu. “We were unaware there would be any problem with her visa until this week,” he told Deadline. Cole, too, has gone on the record saying it was her decision alone to drop Nhengu. But fans online are now trying to organise a voting boycott of the show until “Gamu” is reinstated. This could throw The X Factor into chaos. Tens of thousands have joined Facebook groups calling for tactical voting to ensure the two girls who were voted through are first to be booted off. News broke early in the week that Nhengu and her family are facing deportation. Officials at The UK Border Agency claimed there was a problem renewing their visas. Cowell says he he has engaged lawyers to help her fight Nhengu’s deportation.
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