X Fact-or Fiction

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The papers were awash this morning with the news that 18-year-old X Factor contestant Frankie Cocozza has been axed from the show, amid claims that he’d been dabbling with drugs.

The announcement was made by the producers of the show yesterday afternoon and the Twittosphere was rife with speculation about Simon Cowell’s involvement and whether or not this may be a stunt to boost the ratings once more.

Call me a cynic, but this all seems just a bit too predictable. When it was first announced that this year’s show was losing the ratings battle to the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, it was blindingly obvious to see the producers had pulled out all the stops to make the show more entertaining.

There was a well-timed fall-out between Kelly Rowland and Tulisa Contostavlos over female contestant Misha B that grabbed the headlines and Kelly fled to LA to sulk. Since the beginning of the show, Frankie’s performances have always been cleverly edited to portray him as the wild card, party animal that he may or may not be.

Whether this has all been a cleverly concocted PR stunt, or just an 18-year-old misbehaving, it’s done wonders for the show, as last week’s ratings were back up to just over 14 million. But, with advertising being a huge revenue stream for the programme, what Mr Cowell perhaps needs to be careful of is the impact these headlines could have on the major brands that endorse it.

Marks & Spencer showcased its Christmas advertising campaign during Saturday night’s show, which featured Frankie. Bosses from the company have now called for the advert to be edited to remove Frankie before it airs again – at a massive cost to the company.

If I were Mr Cowell, M&S would definitely be a brand that I’d want to stay on the right side of. Perhaps he should think a little more carefully before he chooses to tackle the tabloids with his questionable headlines once again.