At first sight they would not seem to be ideal bedfellows: one is a respected international envoy, the other a reality TV show. But, despite reports of a "diplomatic row" over noise from X Factor fans, the Chinese ambassador has revealed that she is a big fan of the talent show.
Her Excellency Madam Fu Ying made the claim in a letter to a newspaper in which she also wrote: "It was fun finding myself caught up in X Factor fever and reading about the 'diplomatic row' involving my embassy."
She confirmed that colleagues had been unhappy about noise coming from the X Factor house next-door to the official residence. Contestants live in the North London house during filming of the show, and hundreds of fans have gathered outside to catch a glimpse of their heroes, prompting complaints from neighbours.
However, Madam Fu was quick to quash reports that she was upset by the commotion, even insisting that her daughter had emailed her, asking to go over and join the "screaming fans."
Her Excellency admitted she had a favourite act from the eight remaining finalists but refused to be drawn on who it was. Instead, she wrote: "I think all the acts have some great qualities."
She praised twins John and Edward's "determination and spirit in the face of a lot of criticism", and wrote that Stacey had been "brave". The ambassador added that she thought Jamie's "sincere and energetic voice and dance really get the crowd going".
She reserved praise for finalists Danyl and Olly, who were "great showmen", while Lloyd and Joe had "a lot of potential" and Lucie had a "lovely voice".
This year's series has never been far from the headlines after a string of controversial incidents. In one, Dannii Minogue joked about a contestant's sexuality and Simon Cowell threatened to leave the country if John and Edward (dubbed "Jedward") win the contest.
However, viewing figures have been strong, attracting audiences of more than 10 million viewers, Madam Fu among them.
"I have to admit that I also enjoy watching the X Factor when there is time," she wrote. She added that the show's format is also popular in her home country, where similar shows are aired, attracting millions of votes.
She added, in her letter to the Sun, that 230 million viewers tuned in to watch the Chinese final but claimed that "the contestants do not have the luxury of setting up 'programme house' in a neighbourhood or, if they did, it may be flooded with millions of fans".
The move will smooth relations between the embassy staff and X Factor producers. But other neighbours have complained that the area of Golders Green had become a "death trap," saying that young fans have been playing "chicken" with passing cars. The road has now been shut to traffic.
Graffiti had also been drawn and litter left lying near the embassy, which has been owned by the Chinese since 1959 and is used to entertain diplomatic guests.Reuse content