NORTH-East X Factor winner Joe McElderry has defended the crazy show which has been dogged by controversy this year.

Judges Gary Barlow and Louis Walsh have fallen out after the deadlock situation this weekend which saw one of the Take That singers performers booted off.

Questions have been asked about the integrity of the show after it was reported Walsh was told to force the deadlock issue, but the show has denied executives interfered with voting.

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McElderry, speaking at the Sage Gateshead to promote a charity concert for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, said: "I saw about an hour of the live show on Saturday.

"I think it's as crazy as X Factor always is.

"It's a fun TV show and as usual it dominates the press and creates a lot of opinions for the 12 weeks it is on."

The 21-year-old singer from South Shields, South Tyneside, who has recently released his fourth album Here's What I Believe, won the competition in 2009.

He said: "It has a lot of characters and a lot of feisty judges.

"That's the whole point of the show. It gets everyone talking for 12 weeks, then obviously you see the winner.

"When I was on it, it was an amazing show to be part of and I still enjoy it.

"I am four albums down the line now - without that show I would not be where I am right now.

"I am always continually thankful to the show."