Seven yesterday rejected criticism levelled by past X Factor contestants that ranged from poor working conditions to exploitation.
2015 duo Tamworth mother and daughter duo Johanna and Bianca Vitalone told Fairfax contestants were forced to endure arduous filming days, often without breaks, and situations where songs were chosen for them then criticised by the show’s celebrity judges.
“I think the reason they put a lot of stress on young people and don’t give them water or breaks is for ratings. It makes people break down more when they’re run down,” she said.
Last year TV Tonight revealed both had been mysteriously wiped from the show despite progressing all the way through to the Five Seat Challenge and scoring standing ovations.
Another said producers ask probing questions to try and make contestants emotional.
“Some people came out of interviews and had been crying,” they said.
“They really manipulate you and ask probing questions to try and make you emotional.”
Another former contestant said, “They get you up at 8am in the morning and you arrive and they tell you you’re going to be on any minute when they have no intention of having you perform until 11pm or 12am at night.”
Celebrity Apprentice has been accused of similar strategies to wear down its participants for cameras.
A spokesperson for Channel Seven categorically denied claims of artist mistreatment.
“The welfare of contestants at every stage of the competition is an absolute priority for the production,” she said. “Every effort is made to ensure they are safe, cared for and their needs are being met. There are well-established procedures in place to ensure the safety and welfare of contestants is of the highest industry standards at all times.”
Tonight the show reaches its conclusion amid speculation it will not return next year.