Page last updated at 13:08 GMT, Monday, 9 March 2009

X Factor voting OK, says watchdog

X Factor winner Alexandra Burke
Alexandra Burke won the last series of The X Factor in December

Watchdog Ofcom has rejected complaints by viewers who alleged voting in the last series of The X Factor was unfair.

The regulator received 944 complaints over last year's show, which was eventually won by Alexandra Burke.

Complaints included not being able to get through, particularly in November when Austin Drage and Laura White were voted off the ITV1 show.

Other complaints surrounded a voting re-cap when the phone number allocated to Ruth Lorenzo was incorrect.

In its monthly bulletin, Ofcom said it had sought and received "substantial information" from Channel Television - which had cleared the show for broadcast - regarding the complaints.

"Generally, the licensee confirmed that no technical breakdowns or errors of any sort had occurred over the series," it said.

'Unfortunate error'

Addressing each of the complaints in turn, Ofcom said no single contestant had been disadvantaged by connection problems experienced by viewers attempting to ring voting lines.

The "unfortunate error" that saw an incorrect number for Lorenzo being briefly displayed, meanwhile, did not "materially influence voting patterns or, importantly, the outcome".

Some viewers also complained that Diana Vickers was automatically put through one week despite being too ill to perform.

Ofcom, however, said the decision to allow to her to advance to the following week "presented no possibility of material harm to viewers" as no opportunity to vote for her was given in that instance.

The data it received, concluded the regulator, "did not indicate shortcomings in the series design, editorial judgment or administrative and technical arrangements".

Last year ITV was fined a record 5.675m by Ofcom for abusing premium rate phone services in viewer competitions.



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