The X Factor should put its age limit up from 16, former contestant Melanie McCabe has said.
The Irish singer, who has appeared on the show four times, thinks its still too low despite increasing from 14.
“I did X Factor when I was 14. At that age, I think I was just too vulnerable and too young and it really negatively affected me,” she told the Irish Herald this week. “That’s why I didn’t enter again for two years, it affected my confidence.”
But Melanie feels even 16 is too young.
"I think at that age you’re so fragile, you need to learn who you are as a person before you go and do X Factor because otherwise they will tell you who you are,” she explained. “If you don’t have some kind of sense of self, they will mould you into what they want.”
Melanie went on to suggest that The X Factor wasn't the best idea for a "lasting career" and revealed her stints on the ITV series had been a "huge learning curve".
But the 22-year-old still thinks the show is a "good opportunity".
"I did it four times so you can imagine how much I have learned," she said. "The fourth time I did it was the time I made the biggest mark on my career."
Melanie added: “If you want a lasting career, X Factor maybe isn’t the best way to go about it.
“But if you want to get your name out there, it is a good opportunity. It pushed my career forward.”
The X Factor will be back on ITV this autumn.