Olly Murs has defended James Arthur.

The 'Troublemaker' singer has said he wants to give the former 'X Factor' winner ''the benefit of the doubt'' following criticisms bought against the star for using a homophobic slur in a rap song he wrote in response to a feud with British MC Micky Worthless.

The 'Impossible' singer made a swift apology after a flurry of backlash but the issue caused a spat with fellow 'X Factor' alumni Lucy Spraggan, who publicly condemned his actions on Twitter.

Olly - who appeared as a host on the 'Xtra Factor' during James stint on the ITV talent show - said: ''To be fair to James he did comment and he made a very good statement saying, 'I'm sorry, I didn't mean to say it',

''There's always artists out there that cause controversy... at the moment he's going through a tough time. I just think sometimes when your back's against the wall you just say things and you probably don't mean it. So I give him the benefit of the doubt.''

James has since cancelled a number of upcoming appearances with his representatives sighting ''acute exhaustion'', and Olly thinks the time off will help the star to refocus on his music.

Olly added to Digital Spy: ''Look, he's got a couple of weeks off I suppose to get himself back to scratch. He's a talented lad, he's got a great voice, great ability and hopefully he bounces back.''