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Simon Cowell Is Devastated After Contestant Axed From 'X Factor' Over Mental Health

August 26, 2010, 7:04 am GMT

The music mogul and talent king says that he really feels for Shirlena Johnson, who impressed judges with the rendition of Duffy's hit 'Mercy', saying 'I'm very upset and disappointed.'

Simon Cowell

Music mogul and talent king Simon Cowell has been left "devastated" after producers of his hit TV show "The X Factor" were forced to axe a contestant over concerns for her mental health. Shirlena Johnson, 30, stunned British TV viewers on Saturday night, August 21 with her bizarre, chanting rendition of Duffy's hit "Mercy", and Cowell was suitably impressed, calling the singer "fantastically nuts".

But the single mum was cut from the show after losses launched an investigation into claims she suffers from mental health issues, and Cowell admits he's upset that Johnson is no longer in the contest. He tells The Sun newspaper, "I'm devastated. It's heartbreaking. I really feel for her. I'm very upset and disappointed."

"The advice I'm given is she can't do the show. But there's another argument that we're depriving her of the chance to make some money. Even if she didn't win, she could have picked up money for personal appearances. On the other hand, if we don't take the advice we're irresponsible."

Cowell quit as a judge on "American Idol" in May and is now planning to take his "X Factor" show to America.

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