Simon Cowell has appeared to mock former X Factor contestant Fleur East for appearing on I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!
The music mogul was praising finalist Scarlett Lee during tonight’s live final when he made the remark.
Cowell, 59, said Lee had a successful career ahead of her but warned her not to end up “drinking worm juice in the jungle”.
East, 31, was a runner-up on X Factor in 2014 and a mentee of Cowell’s in the over 25’s category.
Earlier this year she was announced as a contestant on ITV’s I’m A Celebrity and last month flew to Australia to enter the jungle.
Speaking after Lee’s rendition of Elton John’s Your Song, Cowell said: “This is the first time I’ve felt your nerves because you’re all about personality and a big voice. This weekend could change your life.”
Referring to Robbie Williams’ offer to Lee of a duet during his gig at London’s Hyde Park next summer, Cowell added: “You’ve just been offered the Robbie Williams thing.
“I don’t want you in the jungle in two years drinking worm juice. I want you either on Broadway, West End, [or] selling records.”
Cowell’s words did not go down with X Factor fans at home, with many criticising him for his apparent disregard for a former pupil.
One viewer wrote: “Simon making a dig at Fleur being in the jungle when she was signed to his record label? Clearly a sign that he’s failing at helping people who are not like One Direction to have consistent success in the industry.”
Another labelled Cowell “Savage Simon” as they remarked: “I mean I don’t think there was a need to make a dig at Fleur like that. Savage Simon strikes again.”
The X Factor final concludes on ITV on Sunday night.