Wednesday, 25 August 2010

X Factor contestant Shirlena axed over 'concerns for her welfare'


By Sara Nathan

Fears: Shirlena Johnson was yesterday axed from the X Factor after she 'misled' producers over her mental illness

Shirlena Johnson was yesterday axed from the X Factor after she 'misled' producers over her mental illness.

The mother performed a bizarre version of Duffy's hit song Mercy on Saturday's show, which saw her clawing at the floor and growling while dressed in tight leopard skin leggings.

But the giggling panel sent her through to the next round, with Simon Cowell telling her: 'I have never heard anything like that in my life. It was like a musical exorcism.

What I love about you is you are fantastically nuts.'

But Miss Johnson, from East London, was dropped - under rules introduced by producers after Susan Boyle had a breakdown on Britain's Got Talent - after she made it through the boot camp auditions to the judges' houses stage.

Concerns about Miss Johnson were raised after a 'scary' performance at boot camp. An insider said: 'Shirlena performed a Lady Gaga song, but it descended into farce as she got down on the floor, with legs akimbo and was wailing along.

'She then started purring like a cat. But no one seemed to think anything was wrong with her - they just thought she was hilarious.'

Cowell said the decision to axe her was 'heartbreaking.'

'I'm devasted. Shirlena desperately wanted to do this to make a better life for herself and her daughter. I feel she may now struggle to do that,' he told The Sun.

'I really feel for her. I'm very upset and disappointed. The advice I'm given is she can't do the show. But there's another argument that we're depriving her of the chance to make some money.'

Miss Johnson said she was 'very upset' by the decision.

'I think people will want to hear more of me and they will be disappointed by this. It's not fair. I want another chance.'

Bizarre performance: The hopeful sang Duffy's hit Mercy in her audition

A source at Talkback Thames said they had 'no choice' but to drop Miss Johnson after the full extent of her illness emerged after she was unclear in her application.

An X Factor spokeswoman said: 'The welfare of contestants is of paramount importance, and for this reason, it has been agreed that Shirlena Johnson should not continue in the competition.'

A show source told how producers were only alerted to the 30-year-old's full medical history this week after receiving a report from her GP.

Eccentric: Shirlena was shrieking, wailing, kicking and moaning during her audition

All contestants are required to submit such reports before going through to the judges' houses auditions.

A source said: 'We acted immediately once we received this late report

Single mother: Shirlena with her three-year-old daughter Mariah

'Shirlene was told by show executives this afternoon, in person, with a psychologist on hand.

'The decision was taken after taking advice from Shirlena’s doctor and our own medical experts.'

Johnson has also been thrown out of this year's Miss Great Britain contest after organisers discovered her real age when they watched her TV audition.

She had applied for the competition in February and was due to compete in the next regional heat, Miss Essex GB, on Saturday, spokeswoman Charlotte Ellis said.

X Factor returned for its seventh series on Saturday night and was watched by 12.6 million viewers, a record for an X Factor opening episode.

Fragile: Susan Boyle was hospitalised following the final of last year's Britain's Got Talent

source: dailymail


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