A new X-Factor poll has revealed that 59% of heat magazine readers think Simon Cowell should drop Cheryl as a judge.

CREDIT: ©SYCO /THAMES TV/ITV
CREDIT: ©SYCO /THAMES TV/ITV

A survey of over 1,000 visitors to heatworld.com asked if Simon was to drop a female judge, it should be Cheryl, with 58 per cent saying the judges bickering is “overshadowing the acts”, and 54 per cent calling Mel B “the most honest judge”.

Speaking exclusively to heat last week, axed X Factor contestant Jake Quickenden said that he felt the contestants weren’t being treated fairly by the judges.

“Simon is the king of mind games, but it would be better to get some constructive criticism rather than just arguing among themselves. I liked Mel, because she was straight with you – she wouldn’t bulls**t you like what may happen with the others.”

Back in June, Simon said he was pinning all his hopes on Cheryl, 31, returning as the big name on the panel.

“The pressure is going to be on Cheryl this year. There’s a real buzz,” he said. “People are already talking about it and I think that’s partly because Cheryl is back. All eyes are going to be on her, but she knows that and she’s ready.”

“The X Factor is one of the toughest shows on TV to get right,” says heat’s TV editor Boyd Hilton. “The show needed more ‘characters’, like it had in 2010, when it was getting 14million viewers watching acts like 1D, Wagner and Katie Waissel. The emphasis this year has clearly been on trying to mix quality acts with big personalities. Unfortunately for those who watch the show for talent, some of those personalities aren’t great singers.”

However, the heat survey isn’t all criticism – 70 per cent said they are enjoying The X Factor more than Strictly this year. And while Strictly is scoring two million more in the ratings, The X Factor’s 7.5million viewership is still impressive. “The Saturday live shows have been very long, so the show finishes after 10pm,” says heat’s Boyd. “It’s nigh-on impossible to beat Strictly’s Saturday ratings with that scheduling. Interestingly, X Factor does better on a Sunday with the hour-long show, in which you can catch up with Saturday night anyway.”

Other statistics:

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38% think Simon is the best mentor, Louis is considered the worst mentor with just 3% of votes. He’s also considered the ‘most boring’ judge.

78% think Simon’s return has improved the show.

Mel B is the meanest judge according to heat readers with 60% of votes.

47% think Andrea Faustini is set to win this year’s show with 22% saying they would buy his album.