Shirlena dropped from X Factor over mental health fears

X FACTOR creator Simon Cowell has apparently said he is very upset about having to drop Whitechapel mum Shirlena Johnson from the talent show.

Following claims in a national newspaper that the 30-year-old was suffering from mental health problems TV bosses decided the mum-of-one, who performed a bizarre rendition of the Duffy song Mercy, could not continue on the show in the interests of her welfare.

Simon told The Sun: “I’m devastated. It’s heartbreaking. Shirlena desperately wanted to do this to make a better life for herself and her daughter. I feel she may now struggle to do that.

“I really feel for her. I’m very upset and disappointed. The advice I’m given is that 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.”

In an interview with the Daily Star Shirlena insisted she was “not mentally ill” and that being kicked off the X Factor was “a complete catastrophe”.

She said: “This is the worst thing that’s ever happened to me.”

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A spokesman for The X Factor said: “The welfare of contestants is of paramount importance, and for this reason, it has been agreed that Shirlena Johnson should not continue in the competition.”

Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Shirlena’s mother criticised the treatment of her daughter by X Factor bosses.

Carmen Stanley, 53, said: “I think it’s appalling the way she has been treated - building up her hopes only to crush them again.”