Tuesday, December 7, 2010

How 'Hate Cher' became one of most-tweeted phrases in the WORLD in wake of Mary's controversial X Factor exit

By Andrea Magrath

-Furious X Factor fans flood internet forums and social networking sites
-'Hate Cher' is fourth highest trending topic on Twitter after Sunday's results show
-Mary Byrne fuels 'fix' speculation by confirming she was told of the sing off at the last minute
-Byrne says she could have made it through if decision was left to public vote

Homecoming queen: X Factor finalist Cher Lloyd returned to Malvern today to greet her local fans

Cher Lloyd has today returned to her hometown of Malvern, Worcestershire, where she was greeted by hundreds of local fans who came out in support of her ahead of this weekend's X Factor final.

And the hometown response couldn't have come at a better time for the 17-year-old, who is going into the final showdown in the face of a hate-filled online campaign.

As the pressure on the contestants mounts, already fragile Cher has become victim to threats and bullying on Twitter and Facebook.

After the teen scraped through to the final at the expense of 50-year-old Mary Byrne on Sunday night, 'Hate Cher' became a trending topic on Twitter.

All the way: The 17-year-old's devoted fans turned out in their hundreds to rally around the contestant

The phrase was the fourth most used phrased on the social networking site in the UK and one of the top terms in the world in the hours following the results show.

A Facebook group called 'I Hate Cher Lloyd' has attracted 12,510 members as fans of the ITV series continue to speculate about the series being fixed to ensure the Cheryl Cole-lookalike would go through.

Furious fans stormed the internet, writing on forums and social networking sites.

'I would have love to see someone destroy cher's ego! #xfactor rigged! #hatecher,' one Twitter user wrote.

I'm over here! The diminutive teen was swamped by the locals in Malvern

Chaos: Crowds swarmed to catch a glimpse of Cher and her mentor Cheryl

'Is it any wonder #hatecher is trending? The public are fed up with these fake ppl crying, not singing well, but going thru coz Simon likes u,' said another.

Another viewer ranted: 'She comes across as a spoilt brat, her performances are rubbish and she thinks she can "change British music". That is why I #hatecher'.

But fortunately for the singer, for every hateful comment, she has hordes of devoted fans supporting her.

Her trip to Malvern today proved that she has the backing of her hometown, with locals queuing up for blocks to catch a glimpse of the singer.

Brave face: The teen has been strong in the face of online bullying, but became emotional visiting her school and home

The contestant was swamped by excited youngsters at her old primary school Somers Park School, waving signs and elbowing in for a hug or a photo.

A spokesperson for mentor Cheryl Cole told the Mail Online that the 27-year-old accompanied Cher on the trip, but no photos have emerged yet of her there.

Miss Lloyd's own Facebook fan group has an astounding 1,144,452 members.

A fan commented on the page: 'You don't understand how exited I am when you got through to the Final. I was running round the house shouting "Go on lass". I actually love you, You are amazing.'

'Thank god your [sic] in the finals,' wrote another. 'I don't even know how you got in the bottom two - You're like the best singer ever. Hope you win.'

Twitter users also jumped to defend the singer. 'I'm not a big fan of Cher but #hatecher is just mean. Give her some slack,' one wrote.

Devoted: One happy youngster got a hug from Miss Lloyd

Out in force: A line of fans snaked down the road as locals waited to see their hometown star

Another added: 'I think its terrible people got #hatecher trending you dont hate her shes just 17, you've never met her, you Just don't like her singing voice!'

Despite Simon Cowell saying yesterday that a conspiracy was 'nonsense,' voters have complained they were misled about what they were spending their money on.

Viewers were clearly told that the contestant receiving the lowest number of public votes would automatically leave the show, with host Dermot O'Leary saying: 'Now it's all in your hands.

'It's your votes and your votes alone that can get your act safely through to the final.'

Support: Cher looked overwhelmed by the response as she was given a police escort

Target: The weekend's results show sparked an online hate campaign as 'Hate Cher' became one of the most tweeted phrases in the world on Sunday night

But a last-minute change in format meant Cher and Mary - who were in the bottom two - had to battle it out in a sing-off, before the judges voted to put Cher through.

Angry fans of 'Tesco Mary' speculated that X Factor bosses scrambled to make the change when they realised that Lloyd would receive the lowest number of votes - a theory that has been confirmed by the ousted mother-of-one.

Yesterday, Miss Byrne said she believed if it had been down to the public, she would be in this weekend's final.

She told how show producers warned her of the voting changes late on Saturday evening, contradicting ITV sources who said the decision was made weeks ago.

She said: 'They had to make the decision at the last minute to do it that way.

'I knew then my days were numbered. I hope I would have stayed in if it was just the public vote.'

Scandal: A last-minute change in format saw Cher and Mary compete in an unexpected sing off during the results show

Pet contestant: Cheryl Cole has been criticised throughout the series for favouring Miss Lloyd

But Cowell insists that they simply wanted to keep the program fresh: 'It's more exciting and gives more people a chance to win it. That decision was made long ago - five or six weeks ago,' he told the Sun.

'It adds to the mystery and audience love the surprise element.

'We are doing our best to change the format. It's more exciting to have a sing off.'
Cher Lloyd has attracted plenty of controversy during her time on the series.

Fears for her wellbeing have been constant throughout the series, with the frail youngster's emotional performances and tantrums well documented.

Fix Factor? Mary Byrne added fuel to conspiracy rumours yesterday when she said on This Morning that she didn't learn of the format change until Saturday - a claim denied by Simon Cowell

From her first audition - a confident rendition of Soulja Boy's Turn My Swag On - she was a favourite of Cheryl Cole, who told her, 'You are right up my street.'

Cole's decision to put her 'pet contestant' through to the live shows - even though she broke down and was unable to finish her audition - was met with outrage by fans of Gamu Nhengu and Treyc Cohen, who eventually went through as a wild card.

But a number of stand out performances - most notably her powerful rendition of Stay by Shakespears Sister - have won over viewers.

She even won a fan in American celebrity blogger Perez Hilton.

The controversial website producer interviewed Cher before the semi final live show on Saturday night.


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