Cowell backs Gamu in deportation battle

Simon Cowell has thrown his weight behind the campaign to save snubbed X Factor star Gamu Nhengu from deportation to Zimbabwe, it was revealed today.

The music mogul's lawyers have been drafted in to help the 18-year-old singer in her battle to stay in the UK.



The prospect of being sent back to her homeland has been hanging over the teenager after her mother's visa application was turned down.



Cowell said today: "We are helping Gamu and her family as much as possible and have lawyers working with her lawyers, not because we have to - but because I really feel for their situation, and that's outside of the show."



Multi-millionaire Cowell, 51, maintained bosses at the ITV1 show were not aware of Nhengu's visa situation while she was on the programme.



"We were unaware there would be any problem with her visa until this week," he said.



The teenager's mother Nokuthula Ngazana was permitted to stay in the UK while she studied at university, with Nhengu permitted to remain in the country as her dependant.



But Ms Ngazana's application to remain in the country was turned down, with the UK Border Agency saying it did not "meet all of the conditions for approval".



Frances Farrell, the lawyer representing Nhengu and her family, has said she would appeal to an immigration tribunal against plans to deport them.



Cowell's lawyers are expected to advise on the appeal to a Glasgow tribunal and it is understood an X Factor producer has been assigned to look after the family.



Nhengu, who lives in Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire, reportedly fears for her safety if she is forced to return to her native Zimbabwe.



She told the Scottish Sun: "I genuinely fear for my life if we are forced to go back. I love the UK and want to stay here."



Nhengu was booted off X Factor last weekend, despite being a huge hit with fans.



More than 250,000 fans have signed up to a Facebook page called Gamu Should Have Got Through, in protest at judge Cheryl Cole's decision to leave Nhengu out of the final 12.



Cole defended her decision today, saying: "I understand completely why everybody felt so strongly towards Gamu. I thought she was great too like all eight girls but what the public saw was an edited version of what the audition process actually involves.



"It is always a tough decision and for me personally, the part I enjoy the least. I would have loved to take all of the girls."



She said of Nhengu's deportation battle: "I was not aware of Gamu's situation outside of the competition and I am incredibly sad for both her and her family but I have to stress that it did not have any influence over my choice."



Those who did make it through will face the public vote for the first time tonight, with show insiders promising "a twist" to the usual routine.



The first live show at 7.40pm will see the final 12 perform and the phonelines open for the public to deliver their verdict.



The pressure is on Katie Waissel after the bookmakers made her favourite to be eliminated from the show.



The 24-year-old from Hertfordshire was widely seen as being put through the Judge's Houses stage by Cole at the expense of Nhengu.



Waissel said ahead of the programme: "I'm working really hard and being really positive and I can do it and I can't wait for the live shows to happen."



Cowell said: "I can't wait for tonight, Its probably the most I have looked forward to a first live show. Its great to have the two girls back. Danni looks incredible and she's not going to have any trouble dealing with Louis and his tantrums this year."



The results will be announced on tomorrow's show when the finalists will be joined by last year's winner, Joe McElderry.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Finance Manager - Recruitment Business (Media & Entertainment)

£28000 - £32000 per annum + negotiable: Sauce Recruitment: We have an exciting...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

HR Advisor - North London / North West London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - North London...

Day In a Page

Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

Terry Venables column

Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

Michael Calvin's Inside Word

Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past