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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 December, 2003, 09:48 GMT
Pop Idol judges criticise TV vote
Mark Rhodes and Michelle McManus
Mark is a finalist alongside Michelle McManus
Pop Idol judges Pete Waterman and Neil Fox have slated the viewers' decision to vote Mark Rhodes into the ITV talent show final.

Waterman said Mark, who will compete against 22-year-old Michelle McManus on Saturday, was "far out of his depth" during the semi-final.

He added: "Obviously, this show is not about talent or singing any more."

Fox said Mark, 21, "should be doing cabaret". "If he is the Pop Idol, then that will be very disappointing.

"There was nothing that Mark did on Saturday to make me think he should be in the final," Fox told the Pop Idol website.

The judges were surprised by the departure of contestant Sam Nixon, 17, from Barnsley, who had been odds-on favourite to win the show.

"From what I saw, I thought Sam deserved to win the contest as his rendition of Maggie May was the best bit," Fox added.

"When Mark came out, he looked like his parents had dressed him to go to church, either that or he was doing a gig as a bluecoat."

Michelle is now favourite to win the contest but bookmakers have also slashed the odds on Mark. Ladbrokes are offering 4-6 for Michelle and 11-10 for Mark.

Many of Sam Nixon's fans have claim they experienced difficulties in trying to vote for him, but Pop Idol say they have no knowledge of a problem with the phone lines.

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