Sharon Osbourne abstains from X Factor vote as Lorna Simpson gets sent home

Nicole Sherzinger sent Simpson home over fellow contestant Shelley Smith

Lorna Simpson has become the first contestant to be voted off the X Factor 2013 following the weekend's live shows.

The business finance student, 26, sang head-to-head with 36-year-old Shelley Smith for a chance to stay in the competition last night.

Smith, from Devon, lost out on Saturday’s flash vote, which saw her receive the lowest number of votes when the phone lines opened for ten minutes.

Simpson received the fewest votes overall after the phone lines closed yesterday. 

The singers’ performances left Sharon Osbourne unable to choose between her two acts, who are both in the ‘Over-25s’ category.

A dramatic Osbourne told host Dermot O’Leary: “Dermot, I abstain,” after hearing Simpson’s rendition of Faith Hill’s “There You’ll Be” and Shelly’s performance of “One Night Only”.

Louis Walsh chose to send home Simpson, while Gary Barlow saved Smith, leaving Nicole Sherzinger to decide between the two hopeful singers.

Sherzinger chose to save Simpson, telling the 36-year-old: “ There is something about you and I think there is more to see from you.” Osbourne said she was “stumped” by Sherzinger’s decision.

Pop stars Ellie Goulding and Cher also performed on the show, with a number of younger viewers confused about Cher’s appearance.

One teenage viewer tweeted: “Please don’t tell me I’m the only one who thought Dermot meant Cher Lloyd? Who is this woman?”

Judge Gary Barlow also announced his departure from the show during the weekend’s live performances.

Barlow, who is mentoring the groups this year, told band Rough Copy: “I’m so glad for my last year on the show, I got to mentor you.”

He said in a statement later he was leaving the show to embark on a solo tour next year.

“I’ve had an amazing time on X Factor these past three years. A show like this needs to stay fresh and exciting so it’s a great opportunity for someone to come in and take the show past its incredible 10-year anniversary,” he said.

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