X Factor star Rylan Clark has said he doesn't want to be labelled as this year's "joke" act.
The 23-year-old from Essex was chosen by mentor Nicole alongside Jahmene Douglas and James Arthur to represent the boys category in the live shows.
"I don't want to be billed as a joke act," Rylan said this week. "I know exactly who I am and I know my abilities.
"I've earned my place here. Ive worked my arse off to get where I am. If people want to degrade me for that YOU try doing it!"
Rylan also revealed this week how he had originally been offered a spot in TOWIE's first series, but turned it down to focus on his singing.
He said: "I'm pleased I didn't do it. As much as people look at me and think 'Oh, he's there having a laugh', I'm serious about singing."
This morning saw Nicole defend Rylan from the hate he’s been getting online.
She said: “I’m really proud of how he’s handling everything on Twitter, because there are some people being bullies out there and everyone knows it doesn’t feel good to be bullied.”
Rylan himself joined Nicole on Daybreak and This Morning, and admitted: “It’s not been very nice. I’ve done the same process as everyone else here in the competition, I’m so grateful to be part of the show and I’m lucky to get as far as I did.”
He added: “I did have a bad week last week, because of what people were saying to me on Twitter and on websites but I had a lovely chat with Nicole and she told me to rise above it. I’ll prove them wrong.”
[cat c="the x factor"]The X Factor 2012[/cat] live shows start at 8PM tomorrow night on ITV1. The first elimination will take place on Sunday night's live show, which will also feature performances from Ne-Yo and Leona Lewis.