The stars of I Can't Sing!, the new musical about ITV's The X Factor, have defended TV reality shows against ongoing accusations that they offer a lazy route to fame.
Speaking at a media Q&A last week, Simon Lipkin - who voices a talking dog called Barlow in the stage production - argued that it shouldn't matter how people make it in to showbiz as long as they are talented.
"There's been shows on television for years and years that create stars and I think there's a platform for anyone," he observed. "Theatre is a platform for us.
"In any industry, I think if there's a start for someone and they take it seriously and work hard then why not?"
His comments were echoed by co-star Cynthia Erivo, who portrays lead character Chenice, a budding singer that had never heard of the X Factor until she was talked in to auditioning.
"We've been lucky enough to get in to theatre schools and hone these crafts that we have," she commented. "There are people that just don't have that chance.
"Having the opportunity to sing in front of people when you wouldn't normally have that chance is pretty cool, especially when it brings out really cool artists."
Meanwhile, Alan Morrissey - who plays Chenice's love interest Max - said: "I can totally see why people go on these shows, it's their only route sometimes."
He jokingly added: "And also, they replaced Gladiators on a Saturday night. If they brought Gladiators back, I wouldn't want any of those reality shows!"
I Can't Sing! also stars former EastEnders actor Nigel Harman as a fictionalised version of Simon Cowell, with other characters including parodies of Louis Walsh, Cheryl Cole, and Dermot O'Leary.
The show - penned by Harry Hill and Steve Brown - holds its official gala opening tonight at the London Palladium.