New X Factor judge Gary Barlow has defended the decision to axe hopefuls before they had even sung at this year's boot camp. Speaking at the press launch of The X Factor 2011 yesterday, Gary said that delivering the news was "heartbreaking" but insisted it was a "necessary" step to ensure only top quality acts made it through.
Most of those who got the chop were novelty acts that had made it through the auditions thanks to support from the audience.
Others were cut simply because the panel didn't think they were good enough when looking back at all the previous auditions together.
After gathering the hopefuls outside their London hotel on Sunday, Gary revealed: "We don’t believe everyone standing in front of us has the potential to make it all the way in this competition. Some of you are going home now. I’m so sorry – you’re going home.”
Kelly Rowland continued: “While you were partying last night, we were looking at your audition tapes. We only want to work with the people who can go all the way.”
Meanwhile Tulisa added: “This is a tough industry. We’ve got to believe in you.”
However some contestants hit out at the axe, with one complaining: “We were told one group was going home. All the other groups had the big characters in them, so I knew it was my group.
“It was agony. I told them, ‘How could you not even let me sing? It’s cruel’. I bet they don’t show that.”
But Gary Barlow insisted it was a "necessary" step in the process. “Axing the contestants at boot camp was harsh, but it was also necessary," he explained.
“The bar had raised just beyond our expectations and there were some contestants that just didn’t cut it. It was heartbreaking.”
Louis Walsh told us yesterday this year's bootcamp would be the toughest ever.
"It’s the toughest bootcamp we’ve ever done, we left at 2AM the other morning, we started at 8AM! It’s full yon, we’re working them harder than we have ever,” Louis revealed on yesterday’s red carpet at The X Factor launch.
The X Factor 2011 starts on August 20.
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