Simon Cowell: We put in extra sing-off to stop The X Factor becoming boring

Simon Cowell insists that the semi-final sing-off between X Factor contestants Mary Byrne and Cher Lloyd was introduced simply to keep the show entertaining.

‘I feel it’s been a better series as it hasn’t followed the same pattern as before,’ he explains.

‘Having 16 finalists rather than just 12 meant that we introduced both single and double eliminations.

‘We decided for the first time some weeks ago to put four people into the final and this meant having five semi-finalists.

‘We also felt it would be fairer that there would be a sing-off rather than automatic elimination as there were more contestants.’

Mary’s supporters are convinced the former Tesco worker could have made it through had the decision been left with the public – as in previous years.

‘I understand new decisions are seen as controversial,’ says Simon, 51, in open letter in the Daily Mirror.

‘I hope the viewers trust the show that this is a fair competition. Without the viewers there wouldn’t be an X Factor.’

In Now Online’s poll this morning, 75% of you think Mary should have gone through.

Cher, Rebecca Ferguson, Matt Cardle and One Direction are in The X Factor 2010 final.

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