13:16 17 November 2009
X Factor twins John and Edward have been caught up in "fix" claims following reports that soundmen were ordered to drown out their weak vocals.
The cheating controversy comes as the dubiously talented Irish 18-year-olds received some of their highest praise from judges following their rendition of Queen's 'Under Pressure' on Saturday.
However, according to The Sun, ITV studio technicians were ordered to lower the levels on their microphones so their notoriously tuneless voices were masked out by a pre-recorded backing track.
The newspaper quoted a programme source who claimed: "Every week session singers record backing tracks to some songs. But soundmen are told to turn down the levels of the twins' mics so their vocals are mostly covered by the backing singers. Often mics are so low the twins' singing would be barely audible."
Another source told the Daily Mirror: "It is totally outrageous. It is cheating, the only time the sound levels on the mics were lifted was when they were rapping."
However, a spokeswoman for production company talkbackThames stated that all X Factor contestants receive an "equal amount" of technical help for their live performances.
She said: "All contestants sing live on Saturday night and all are given an equal amount of technical support to ensure they give the best live performance they can.
"Technical support is standard for all artists when giving live vocal performances."
The twins, dubbed Jedward, have become the surprise stars of the talent show despite critical mauling from Simon Cowell.
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