The new season of The X Factor hasn't exactly gotten off to a flying start, what with reports suggesting that the auditions were 'fixed' because producers had scouted talent instead of them turning up of their own accord.

Now, one of the contestants who had proved popular with the show's audience because of his 'underdog' status has been removed from the competition.

Anthony Russell turned up to his audition with a black eye, saying that he had been beaten up in Liverpool after a recent gig - but now producers have confirmed that  ‘earlier this month, due to personal reasons, Anthony withdrew from the show’.

However, a source told Metro: "‘Anthony has been going through some personal issues for some time – as he sang about at his audition. Those issues were still affecting him. So everyone has urged him to concentrate on getting himself better right now", while The Sun reported that he had admitted that he was a drug user. "Contestants are closely monitored by the production team. They were alarmed by how erratic he was during filming and decided to confront him."