X Factor 2011 star Kitty Brucknell has said Gary Barlow was wrong to brand the Over category stars as "jokes" in previous years.
He told the Metro newspaper: "My complaint at the end of last year is I thought the contestants weren’t good enough. I thought we had a pretty average year last year."
Kitty, who was mentored by Louis Walsh in the Overs category last year, took to Twitter to quickly hit back at Gary's comments.
She wrote: "You know, I haven't spoken about this until now...but it's really upset me what @gbarlowofficial said about the overs category ...yes, in previous years there has been a less serious category, and some contestants haven't taken it as serious, but...
"There are some of us who worked at perfecting ourselves as artists day in day out. If I had entered this years show...
"I would have been in the unders, not the overs. And I STILL have my strong work ethic and my dedication to my craft..."
Kitty continued: "I totally understand that he is trying to get people to see his category as serious contenders this year, 100%respect that, but some of the things which have been said is really hurtful, especially about our year. I worked my ass off, still do....and I might not be everyone's cup of tea, but I certainly don't consider myself a joke."
The former Britney Spears impersonator added: "I just wanted to put that out there. I LOVE Gary & respect him hugely as an artist and person, but I needed to say this, I hope you don't mind and can understand where I'm coming from. Breaking the norm is hard enough, without constantly having to dodge boulders that are thrown your way. X Kitty "
Kitty also backed Carolynne Poole to succeed on the show this year, after missing out on the live finals last year.
She tweeted: "Oh!!! And for the record, I was incredibly shocked when Carolynne didn't make it last year & am rooting for her big time! She will shock u!"