“The X Factor” U.K. judge Louis Walsh has made plenty of insulting comments in the media about his “X Factor” U.K. colleagues. Now he has become the target of unflattering remarks from people on the show. Fellow judge Gary Barlow has said in an interview that he has “no respect” for Walsh. In addition, Samantha “Sami” Brookes, the 31-year-old contestant whom Walsh rejected twice in 2011, has lashed out at her former mentor by telling the media that he should be fired.
As previously reported, the always-outspoken Walsh has been at the center of controversy this year. He and fellow “X Factor” U.K. judge Tulisa Contostavlos have been feuding with “X Factor” U.K. judges Barlow and Kelly Rowland. Walsh said in an interview that his “X Factor” boss Simon Cowell is a “fool,” and Walsh accused “X Factor” U.K. 2011 finalist Misha Bryan of being a backstage bully. (Walsh later backtracked on his remarks about Cowell and Bryan. He apologized to Bryan on the air in the October 23 episode.)
In 2011, Walsh is mentoring solo singers ages 25 and older on “The X Factor” U.K. One of those contestants is 26-year-old Kitty Brucknell, who has also had her share of controversy, because of her erratic behavior and personality conflicts with other contestants. And even though Walsh said on the show that Brucknell is a “nightmare,” Brookes says that Brucknell is Walsh’s favorite contestant. Brookes accuses Walsh of giving Brucknell special treament over all the other contestants in his mentor category.
Barlow, Rowland and Contostavlos joined “The X Factor” judges’ panel in May 2011, while Walsh has been a judge on the show since its 2004 debut. In their first year of working together,Walsh and Barlow clashed over Walsh’s tendency to let off-key, “eccentric” singers advance to the next round.
One of their conflicts was over 49-year-old Goldie Cheung, whom Walsh chose from his category to be a Top 16 finalist. Barlow had vigorously objected to Cheung being the competition, and Barlow wanted Cheung eliminated ever since her over-the-top audition, when she wrapped one of her legs around Barlow and grinded up against him. Cheung ended up quitting the show for “personal reasons,” so Walsh replaced Cheung with Brookes, who had made the Top 32 but whom Walsh had previously cut from the competition.
Walsh ended up rejecting Brookes again in the October 23 episode, when he chose to vote off Brookes instead of Brucknell. (Brucknell and Brookes were in the bottom two in getting votes from the public so they did a sing-off, and the four judges voted which contestant to eliminate. Barlow, Walsh and Rowland voted to eliminate Brookes, while Contostavlos voted to get rid of Brucknell.)
Brookes has complained to the media that Walsh forced her to sing Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time” in the performance that put her in the bottom two. Brookes said in an interview with ITV’s “This Morning”:
“With the right song, I would still be there. I was gutted about my song choice. I love a bit of Cher but I was really devastated because I made a list of 20 songs I wanted to do and none of them got put down. Aerosmith, a bit of Bon Jovi, a man’s song that I could change. I don’t want to be known as a ballad queen, rock is my favorite era and they never let me do it.”
And according to The Sun, Walsh’s song choice for Brookes isn’t the only thing that upset her during her time on “The X Factor” U.K.:
She said: “I had a list of songs I wanted to sing but my choices were overlooked. I think he should be replaced on the panel. I think he’s old fashioned now — he’s out of touch with what’s going on.”
She also accused Louis of lavishing attention on Kitty Brucknell, saying: “She is his favourite act, she’s all he cares about.”
The feisty Welsh warbler admitted she HAD been harassed by controversial singer Misha Bryan. Sami also confirmed a furious bust-up with Misha on Friday left them both in tears following a string of bitchy comments from the 19-year-old. But she denied Misha had bullied her.
Sami said: “No one can push me around.”
As for Barlow and Walsh, they also have clashed over 18-year-old “X Factor” U.K. finalist Frankie Cocozza, whom Barlow is mentoring. Walsh has criticized Cocozza for losing his “swagger” and in a later episode, Walsh blasted Cocozza for being “over-confident.” Naturally, Barlow disagreed with those critiques.
As a personal manager, Walsh’s biggest client has been Westlife, which announced in 2011 that the group is breaking up after it finishes a farewell tour in 2012. In an interview with The Sun, Barlow said: “Do I respect Louis? Well, Westlife did all right but apart from that … no.”
Barlow also defended Cocozza by saying that Cocozza somewhat reminded him of his Take That band mate Robbie Williams: “There’s a bit of Robbie in him. He likes a night out. His voice isn’t the strongest but he’s got something.”
Brookes is not the only “X Factor” U.K. contestant from 2011 to complain about Walsh. As previously reported, Terry Winstanley (who was eliminated during the “judges’ houses” phase of the competition) gave a tabloid interview saying that Walsh was “pathetic” and a neglectful mentor who wasn’t there for the contestants when they needed Walsh for guidance.