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Cole claims responsibility for Gamu exit

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Cheryl at judges houses

© ITV

Cheryl Cole has claimed sole responsibility for the decision to eliminate Gamu Nhengu from The X Factor.

In a public statement issued yesterday, the Girls Aloud singer denied claims that she had been pressured to axe the popular contestant over ongoing visa issues, insisting that she hadn't even been informed of Nhengu's situation at the time.

The Daily Mail quotes Cole as saying: "The three girls I have chosen to take through to the live shows were chosen by me and [guest judge Will.I.Am] and the final choice [is always] my decision.

"I was not aware of Gamu’s situation outside of the competition and I am incredibly sad for both her and her family."

Cole's claims were echoed in a separate statement from Simon Cowell, who denied reports that the two judges have blamed each other for the furore surrounding Nhengu's exit.

"No, Cheryl and I haven’t had a fight... yet!" he quipped. "And I certainly couldn’t tell her what to do even if I wanted to."

Cole and Cowell are expected to address the controversial decision during tonight's specially extended live show.

Brian Friedman: 'Gamu axe was all Cheryl'

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