Gary Barlow has gained a reputation as being a harsh taskmaster over the past few weeks of X Factor, but the new judge and Take That member has really come into his own as the competition reaches the critical stages before the live finals.
16 year-old Luke Lucas found himself in tears after a nerve-ridden performance in front of Barlow and aide Robbie Williams at the former's house. It was the wannabe star's final audition before the live finals and the pressure of performing in front of two of the biggest pop stars in the country proved too much, reports The Sun, a source saying: "Luke found the pressure really difficult. He messed up one of his songs then started crying when he feared he had blown his chance. Gary and Robbie were really worried."
The episode will air live tonight (1/10) with the Daily Mail reporting a devastated Lucas saying "Everyone back home is so proud of me and I feel like if I don't get through I've let everyone down."
The X Factor is already under scrutiny over the way in which it treats its contestants, Barlow having previously been slammed for apparently "bullying" 55 year-old widow Ceri Rees. Marjorie Wallac of mental health charity Sane commented, "It's like 'conditioning experiments' that took place in the Sixties on animals. Producers need to take responsibility for potential consequences."