X Factor viewers are racist, apparently (but our stats suggest otherwise)

Hannah Barrett (X Factor 2013)

Viewers of The X Factor have been branded 'racist' for voting out black contestants.

Comic Chris O’Dowd, who is a regular on X Factor spin-off the Xtra Factor, made the claims in this week's Radio Times.

He said: "Generally my favourites go out in the first few weeks.

“And, of course, because the viewing public is so racist, all the black, strong singers go out in round five every year.”

Although we reckon Chris' words were probably said in a rather tongue in cheek manner, we decided to look back at series past and see whether there is any truth to the claims.

The answer is rather simple: There isn't.

Let's start by pointing out one thing: Viewers don't vote anyone "out" of The X Factor. Those that leave are simply the least popular with voters. It doesn't mean they're disliked or even unpopular overall, with many eliminated acts going on to enjoy more success than winners.

Now it doesn't take long to go back in the history of X Factor finalists to see that actually, non-White acts to remarkably well.

In fact of the ten series to have aired, only three have not included any black performers in the final stages and perhaps notably, two of those series - the first and fourth - produced arguably the least successful winners in Steve Brookstein and Leon Jackson respectively.

And if we're being brutally honest, we can't foresee Sam Bailey not going the same way.

The show's most successful finalists are actually black, such as Alexandra Burke and JLS.

So why do people think that black acts go out early? It's fair to say that last year Hannah Barrett and Tamera Foster both had a rough time in the sing-off, each appearing at least two times before finally going home.

But the stats suggest it was more down to their song choices and performances than the colour of their skin.

In the voting percentages released at the end of the series, Hannah was proving to be a potential winner in the early stages showing that she had plenty of support at the beginning with voters.

But in Week 3 Hannah's support had slipped by almost half from the week before, going from the third most popular contestant to the least.

The reason? Did the show's voters suddenly all became racist in the space of seven days? Obviously not. The more logical and altogether obvious explanation is that Hannah just gave a pretty boring and unforgettable performance... and unfortunately she didn't really get any better.

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