Page last updated at 10:13 GMT, Friday, 30 October 2009

Cowell praying for 'Jedward' exit

John and Edward Grimes
John and Edward Grimes are one of Louis Walsh's X Factor acts

X Factor judge Simon Cowell says he is "praying" Irish twins John and Edward Grimes do not win the ITV talent show.

"If they win, it will be a complete and utter disaster," he said. "I'd probably sulk for about six months [and] get on a very fast plane out of the country."

The 18-year-old duo - dubbed 'Jedward' by their many fans - are one of nine acts left in this year's series.

"I don't dislike them as people," added Cowell. "I just don't think they are the act we were looking for."

The pop impresario was speaking at a press conference on Thursday to announce his patronage of the Children's Hospices UK charity.

'Singing candle'

Cowell, who is hoping to steer one of his over-25 acts to victory this year, also had some criticism for popular contestant Stacey Solomon.

Simon Cowell (right) signing autographs for children
Cowell (right) made his comments during a visit to a hospice in Surrey

"She's like a singing candle," he told reporters. "She hasn't moved in three weeks."

Singer Danyl Johnson remains favourite to win, despite ending up in the sing-off on Sunday's results show.

"He's back on Saturday to prove he should be there," said Cowell, who admitted a meeting had been called after Sunday's programme.

"It was simply to say I thought that Saturday's show song choices and performances weren't as good as I would have expected and that we have got to dig a bit deeper."

Fans have been assembling outside the north London property where the X Factor hopefuls are currently being housed.

Barnet Council said on Thursday it had closed the road to through traffic "to protect children and teenagers who have been amassing".

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