Page last updated at 16:34 GMT, Monday, 10 November 2008

Fans angry over X Factor results

Laura White
Laura White is hoping this will not be the end of her singing career

X Factor fans have expressed their anger at Saturday night's result, which saw Laura White voted off the show.

The 21-year-old, who had been second favourite to win the ITV1 talent show, went up against Ruth Lorenzo in the sing-off, but the judges voted her off.

More than 3,500 fans have signed an online petition for White to be reinstated or get a record deal.

Culture Secretary Andy Burnham even raised the issue in Parliament, saying White's exit had been "very harsh".

His remarks came during Commons question time, as part of a discussion about the crude comments made by Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross on BBC Radio 2.

Mr Burnham remarked that MPs "should resist that temptation to comment on editorial matters.

"Although the temptation is great in my case, having seen the wonderful and talented Laura White very harshly voted off X Factor on Saturday."

White lives in Mr Burnham's constituency of Leigh in Greater Manchester.

'Total fix'

I know very well that she was angry. She was saying things about Louis and how she thought the decision was very unfair
Laura White on how her mentor Cheryl Cole took the news

Several people who signed the petition on website Petition Online claimed they were unable to get through to vote for White.

Ian Bagley called the show a "total fix" after he said he was unable to phone through.

Another petitioner, Chantelle, said she received a "dead line" when she tried to call.

However, an X Factor spokeswoman said there were "absolutely no issues with the phone lines".

She added: "Our viewers vote for the act they want to keep in the competition and last Saturday, Laura White and Ruth Lorenzo received the least number of votes."

Culture Secretary Andy Burnham on 'the wonderful and talented' Laura White

Similar fan protests were seen last year after Welsh singer Rhydian Roberts was voted off the contest - with media watchdog Ofcom receiving as many as 1,500 complaints.

'Biggest upset'

In the petition, some of White's supporters also accused X Factor judge Louis Walsh - who had the casting vote - of getting rid of the singer so that his group, JLS, would have a better chance of winning.

One fan, Donna Clarkson, said the result was an "absolute joke" and suggested Walsh should have "let it go to deadlock".

In that situation, the singer with the lowest support from the show's phone vote would have been sent home.

When contacted by BBC News, Walsh declined to comment on Saturday's decision.

Eoghan Quigg

White's mentor, Cheryl Cole, could not bring herself to comment on her exit during the live programme.

Afterwards, however, White told reporters how the Girls Aloud star felt about the eviction.

"I know very well that she was angry," she said.

"She was saying things about Louis and how she thought the decision was very unfair."

Nick Weinberg, spokesman for bookmaker Ladbrokes, said White's exit had been the "biggest upset in X Factor history".

He said the surprise result had "prompted a re-think amongst punters".

But TV critic Julia Raeside, who writes in the Guardian Guide, said people were taking the show too seriously.

"It's just not important is it?" she said on BBC Five Live.

"It's four people who are sitting behind a desk on a Saturday night entertainment show.

"The soap opera of the show has become 50% of the programme."

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