London (ANI): Music mogul Simon Cowell has earned himself the ire of his fellow judges by dumping an X Factor hopeful in favour of a 'reject'. Cowell's decision to remove 21-year-old Rikki Loney, who had been among the six lucky contestants that made it to the judges' houses stage of the contest, resulted in a showdown with Cheryl Cole, 25, and Dannii Minogue, 36.
The decision has exposed Cowell to another series of X Factor 'fix' allegations. Cowell is said to have changed his mind and yanked dumbstruck Loney out of the line-up to replace him with Liam Payne, 15, from Wolverhampton. Loney has lashed out at Cowell, 48, revealing his feelings about the decision.
"I am gutted. Simon decided to dump me in favour of someone else at the last minute," the Daily Star quoted him as saying. Loney revealed that he was waiting in the wings at the O2 Arena in London to hear his fate from the judges, when he and the rest of the boys aged 14-24 were told by producers that the decision had been delayed.
"He couldn't even look me in the eye when he told me it was over. Cheryl and Dannii weren't happy with this and that's why they were arguing," he stated.
"No-one had a clue what was going on. Then all of a sudden I was separated from the other boys backstage. I could hear Dannii and Cheryl raise their voices but I didn't know why. Now I realise they were arguing about me. The panel asked me to stay behind after the others had gone and Cheryl told me: 'I am so sorry.' I could see Louis and Dannii looking upset as well. But Simon couldn't look at me. I knew then it had been his decision to axe me. I was gutted," he added.