UK & World News
X Factor: Christopher Maloney Was 'Bullied'
X Factor finalist Christopher Maloney says he has been "bullied" and subjected to a "witch hunt" since finishing third on the TV talent contest.
The 38-year-old from Liverpool was voted off the show on Saturday, when he secured fewer votes than eventual winner James Arthur and runner-up Jahmene Douglas.
He did not appear in Sunday's final, prompting speculation he had turned up with a hangover for rehearsals and insulted a fellow contestant.
The singer, from Liverpool, found himself at the centre of a backlash on Twitter, when Carolynne Poole, who left the show in week one, retweeted a message from Christopher, which read: "@CarolynnePoole you'll do anything to get a headline! Disgraceful! Week one! Bitter."
Later, Maloney tweeted: "Thank u @TheXFactor had a wonderful time. An amazing experience. Love u all. Sorry I had a sore throat an doctor signed me off. Good luck x."
He told fans to "take no notice" of newspaper reports, accusing them of writing "sensational headlines", before posting: "Yes I am being bullied! Big time. There u go xx witch hunt xx."
He later added: "Thank u all so much for ur love help and support. Thinking everyone wants a final dig. Disgusting xx love u na nite xx."
Maloney was voted in as the show's 'wildcard' during the first week, securing 63.5 per cent of the vote.
Figures released by ITV revealed he won the most number of votes for each of the first seven weeks, only to fall behind Arthur and Douglas as the show - now in its ninth series - drew to a close.
Arthur, 24, from Saltburn, near Middlesbrough, hugged his mentor Nicole Scherzinger after being announced as the winner.
His prize is a recording contract and a shot at Christmas number one with his debut single Impossible, originally recorded by Barbadian singer Shontelle.
All profits from sales of the single will go to the charity Together For Short Lives, which gives support to children with life-threatening and life-limiting conditions.
Douglas also 24, from Swindon, was gracious in defeat, telling his rival: "I think it's just a blessing to share the stage with such a talent.
"You're so amazing James, use this platform, use it wisely."
Meanwhile, contestant Lucy Spraggan, who pulled out of the show in November because of ill health, said she did not perform a Christmas medley with other acts because she "didn't think it was my style".
MK1 missed the performance because they were on tour.