THE X Factor executive seen whispering in judge Louis Walsh’s ear before singer Carolynne Poole’s controversial exit has denied that the show is a fix.
Producer Richard Holloway was seen talking to Walsh just before the judges delivered their verdict on the ITV1 show.
Viewers accused the show of being a fix when the Irish judge initially appeared to save Birkby's Carolynne, before backing eccentric singer Rylan Clark, when they were the bottom two in the public vote.
Walsh then infuriated fellow judge Gary Barlow by saying he could not make up his mind and taking the decision to the public vote, which Barlow’s act Carolynne had lost.
Holloway, who delivered the news to Cheryl Cole that she was sacked from the US X Factor, insisted in a statement that he had not told Walsh how to vote.
"We regularly chat to the judges during the show - they don’t wear earpieces like (host) Dermot (O’Leary) so we have to speak to them throughout the programme, on anything from timings to running order changes," he said.
"On Sunday night I was telling Louis the order the judges would vote in and that he would be last.
"We don’t tell the judges how to vote and, as you saw on the show, Louis hadn’t - and couldn’t - make up his mind so he decided that sending it to the public vote was the fairest thing to do."
Walsh defended his decision to force the show to an audience vote as "the fairest option".
He said: "I was torn. I think Rylan’s a great entertainer and Carolynne’s a great singer.
"I couldn’t make up my mind. So, finally, I decided that the fairest thing to do was to go to the public vote and Rylan had more votes than Carolynne. It was sad but it was the fairest option."
Viewers and celebrities took to Twitter in disgust after the decision using the hashtag £fixfactor, while Take That star Barlow, who stormed off following the decision, tweeted: "Been hard to get motivated today. Carolynne Poole good luck. Anything you need I’m here".
O’Leary admitted afterwards that the show had been "weird" and added: "For those asking I have to ask who the judges are sending home, not save. Straight question. Been like that for nine years!"
An X Factor spokeswoman said: "Carolynne had the least amount of public votes so the public’s choice to stay in the show was Rylan. Producers always chat to judges during the show."
Also today Carolynne herself said she had not suggested that her exit had been engineered.
She took to social network Twitter to tell her 96,000+ followers she had been misquoted.
Carolynne wrote: "Hey tweeps! I see some of the papers have quoted me wrong today... So just to clear it up... I didn't say I thought it was engineered, I said its got everyone talking and that's wot (sic) the show is about! I never implied I thought the show was fixed, only expressed how p'd off I was that Louis attention was distracted while I was singing my save me song! That's wot gutted me as obviously I his full attention."