"The X Factor" has become notorious for having several stars who've behaved badly. And it's no surprise, since "The X Factor" executive producer Simon Cowell is famous for being rude and insulting. But which "X Factor" stars were the most controversial of 2013?
Here's who was eligible to be this list and who isn't: Stars from the U.K., U.S. and Australia editions of "The X Factor" are eligible to be on this list, since Examiner.com's audience is mainly English-speaking.
This list is based on what controversial things these stars did to cause heated debates in the media and among the public in 2013.
(NOTE: Former "X Factor" U.K. judge Tulisa Contostavlos, who was ranked No. 1 on our list of the 10 Most Controversial "X Factor" stars of 2012, was not eligible to be on the list in 2013 since she was fired from "The X Factor" in 2013 and did not serve as judge for the show in 2013. If Contostavlos had been a judge on "The X Factor" in 2013, she would definitely be on this year's list again, due to her June 2013 arrest for supplying cocaine during a sting operation involving an undercover reporter for The Sun. The arrest happened just two months after Cowell confirmed that she was fired from the show. Contostavlos is expected to plead not guilty when her case goes before the court in 2014.)
The 10 Most Controversial "X Factor" Stars of 2013
1. Simon Cowell ("The X Factor" executive producer)
Simon Cowell, 54, has always been controversial, but 2013 may have been his most controversial year so far, ever since he became famous in the early 2000s for being a TV talent-show judge who cruelly insults other people. The biggest reason for Cowell's controversial year was because of the adulterous affair he had that resulted in him impregnating New York socialite Lauren Silverman, 36, when she was still married to his close friend Andrew Silverman, a 37-year-old real-estate mogul. The baby (a boy) is due in February 2014. The Silvermans, who got married in 2003 and have known Cowell for about that length of time, have a 7-year-old son named Adam.
Andrew Silverman filed for divorce in July 2013, citing Lauren's adultery with Cowell as the reason for the divorce. They reached a quickie settlement a month later, and it was rumored that the settlement was reached so quickly because Cowell paid Andrew Silverman a hefty sum of money. Andrew Silverman had asked for sole custody of Adam, but ultimately agreed to joint custody.
Even though people in the media who interviewed Cowell and people who work for Cowell acted as if he didn't do anything wrong, Cowell got massive backlash from the public, who called him a homewrecking cad. Cowell made no public apology for his hurtful actions. Instead, he joked around and made light of his adultery when he publicly talked to the media about Lauren, their affair and they child they are going to have together. He also was quick to defend Lauren by calling her a "great girl" and that she was finding it "difficult" to deal with the media spotlight. Perhaps she should have thought of that before she had an adulterous affair with a world-famous celebrity.
In November 2013, TMZ reported that the Silvermans' divorce settlement included clauses that Cowell has to stay away from Adam until January 2015, or else Lauren Silverman has to pay a $50,000 fine. According to TMZ, the settlement also includes a clause that Adam cannot call anyone other than his biological parents his "mother" or "father." Meanwhile, there have been several media reports, including from People magazine, that Cowell (who is a lifelong bachelor) has bought an engagement ring and plans to propose to Lauren Silverman. Whether or not they get married is anyone's guess. Cowell has been engaged before to other women, but each time, he broke off the engagement.
As for Cowell's controversial "X Factor" decisions, the majority of viewers on the American and British versions of "The X Factor" said they hated the introduction of the new "chair challenge" format in 2013, which was kind of like a highly manipulative version of musical chairs: Contestants were told they had made it to the next round, but then the judge leading their mentor category could change their mind and replace the contestant with someone else. All of this happened while the contestants uncomfortably squirmed in chairs on stage as they waited to hear if they were going to stay in the competition or possibly be replaced.
Meanwhile, the backlash against Cowell was reflected in the downward spiral in ratings for "The X Factor" U.S., which had its lowest ratings and worst reviews so far in 2013. In 2011, the show averaged 12 million U.S. viewers per episode. In 2012, the the show averaged 9 million U.S. viewers per episode. In 2013, the show averaged 6 million U.S. viewers per episode. By the end of the 2013, Cowell predicted that Fox would renew the show for a fourth season in 2014, as reports surfaced that he would be leaving "The X Factor" U.S. to go back to being a judge on "The X Factor" U.K.
Regardless of which "X Factor" judging panel Cowell plans to be on in 2014, most industry insiders agree that "The X Factor" in the U.K. and the U.S. will never be able to go back to the ratings that they had at their peak. And as the creator of "The X Factor," Cowell bears most of the blame for the decline of "The X Factor" and many of the bad business decisions that resulted in the significantly lower ratings.
2. James Arthur ("The X Factor" U.K. 2012 winner)
No "X Factor" star got into more Twitter feuds with other entertainers than James Arthur, 25, who got an immense amount of backlash for a homophobic slur that he made against rapper Micky Worthless. Arthur also had a war of words on Twitter with "X Factor" alumni Louis Tomlinson of One Direction, Lucy Spraggan and Matt Cardle, as well as with comedian Frankie Boyle. Arthur denied he was homophobic and made a public apology to anyone he may have offended. Several former fans of Arthur were so offended by his insulting behavior that they demanded refunds for his self-titled debut album on Syco Music, the record-company co-owned by Cowell and Sony Music.
In addition, Arthur went on Twitter to give profanity-laced denials to tabloid stories that reported that, on separate occasions, he hired prostitutes and asked a 17-year-old girl to send him topless photos of herself. The females involved in these alleged incidents gave tabloid interviews saying that Arthur did in fact do these things.
In November 2013, Arthur reportedly had a meltdown and cancelled his upcoming appearances for the subsequent few weeks, shortly after he announced that he would no longer be posting messages on Twitter and that his management company would be tweeting on his behalf from now on. A spokesperson for Arthur said "exhaustion" was the reason for Arthur's cancelled public appearances, but Arthur's sister Sian told the Sunday Mirror that Arthur (who has publicly admitted to having a history of depression and suicide attempts) had a nervous breakdown because he has had difficulty coping with fame.
When Arthur returned to the public spotlight by performing "Recovery" on "The X Factor" U.K. on Dec. 10, 2013, he made another public apology. But the damage appears to be done: "Recovery," Arthur's third post-"X Factor" single, peaked at No. 19 on the U.K. singles chart. That's a significant drop from his previous two singles: "Impossible" (No. 1 in the U.K. and Top 5 in several other countries) and "You're Nobody 'Til Somebody Loves You" (No. 2 in the U.K.). Considering that most winners of "The X Factor" U.K. have been dropped by Sony Music, it looks like it's only a matter of time before Arthur becomes another "X Factor" has-been.
3. Paulina Rubio ("The X Factor" U.S. judge)
Even before she became an unpopular judge on 'The X Factor" U.S. in 2013, Paulina Rubio, 42, was causing controversy. In 2013, she was still embroiled in a nasty custody battle with her estranged husband Nicolás "Colate" Vallejo-Nágera over their 3-year-old son, Andrea Nicolás. Rubio and Vallejo-Nágera have been accusing each other of being unfit parents.
In May 2013, paparazzi photographer Hector Vela filed a $75,000 lawsuit against Rubio, claiming that she assaulted him (by kicking him in the groin) and stole his camera after he asked to take her picture at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston. The lawsuit came less than a year after Rubio's former personal assistant Felipe Restrepo Betancur filed a lawsuit in 2012, alleging she punched, kicked and slapped him because he booked her an airplane flight in coach class instead of first class.
In addition, Gossip Extra reported that Rubio was facing foreclosure for unpaid fees for her Miami condo. As of October 2013, Rubio owed more than $30,000 in fees, interest and penalties on the condo, according to legal paperwork filed by the condo's homeowner board.
Because Rubio is not very well-known outside of the Spanish-speaking/Latin music industry, most "X Factor" viewers thought it was a bad idea to hire her for "The X Factor" U.S., since most of the show's viewers never heard of her before she joined the show. But Rubio failed to charm most viewers, as she immediately got a lot of criticism for her inarticulate comments, bad English, ditzy behavior and controversial decisions, such as keeping less talented contestants and eliminating those with more talent. Many viewers said she was the worst "X Factor" judge ever.
Rubio has not yet commented on her future with "The X Factor." But if "The X Factor" U.S. is renewed for a fourth season in 2014, it's highly unlikely that Rubio will be back on the show.
4. Demi Lovato ("The X Factor" U.S. judge)
Ever since Demi Lovato joined "The X Factor" U.S. judging panel in 2012, she became known for bickering with Simon Cowell on the show. But in 2013, a lot of viewers felt that Lovato's bickering was no longer "cute" and that her behavior was becoming increasingly rude and annoying. In addition, Lovato, 21, got a firestorm of criticism from "X Factor" viewers for being a horrible mentor to contestants by giving them ill-advised songs and makeovers. Indeed, none of the contestants she mentored in 2012 or 2013 made it to the final three.
And her credibility as an "X Factor" judge plunged even further when she gave a widely panned, off-key performance of her single "Neon Lights" on "The X Factor" U.S. on Nov. 28, 2013. "Neon Lights" flopped on the charts, as did all of her singles released in 2013, except for the Top 10 hit "Heart Attack."
Lovato also caused controversy when nude photos of her were leaked. (Lovato has not commented on the nude photos, but the woman in the photos looks exactly like Lovato and has the same tattoos that she does.) It was also alleged that Lovato is a closet bisexual, as stories surfaced in the tabloids that she had lesbian flings, including an affair with Ruby Rose, an Australian DJ. At the end of 2013, Lovato announced that she was leaving "The X Factor" to focus on her music career. Most "X Factor" viewers commenting on Lovato's departure basically said "good riddance."
5. Sharon Osbourne ("The X Factor" U.K. judge)
Sharon Osbourne, 60, is no stranger to controversy, since she has been in plenty of well-publicized feuds throughout her life. In 2013, her biggest public feud was with her brother David Arden, whom she had a falling out with because they disagreed on where to bury their father, Don Arden, who he died in 2007. In 2013, David went to the Daily Mirror tabloid to say he wanted to reconcile with Sharon, but he accused Sharon of endangering her health because he thinks she's addicted to plastic surgery. Sharon retaliated with her own Daily Mirror interview, in which she accused David of being a selfish and ungrateful freeloader.
However, Osbourne got some backlash from the public for admitting that she has forbidden her children (who are all adults) from contacting David. Many people also believe that is in poor taste to go to a tabloid to deal with a family feud.
In 2013, Osbourne returned to "The X Factor" U.K. judging panel, after quitting the show in 2007 because of her feud with Dannii Minogue, who was also a judge on the show at the time. (Minogue was a judge on "The X Factor" U.K. from 2007 to 2010, and she became a judge on "The X Factor" Australia in 2013.)
In her 2013 memoir, "Unbreakable," Osbourne described her conflicts with Minogue, as well as the marital problems that led to her temporary separation from her husband Ozzy, a recovering drug addict/alcoholic who admitted in 2013 that he had relapsed from late 2011 to early 2013.
Although Sharon Osbourne caused some controversy in 2013 on "The X Factor" U.K. because she eliminated fan favorite Joseph Whelan, she ultimately became the winning judge, since she was the mentor of Sam Bailey, the show's 2013 winner. Osbourne has announced that 2013 is her last year as a judge on "The X Factor" U.K., but she has changed her mind about being a judge on the show before, so we will have to wait and see if she's really done with being an "X Factor" judge.
6. Louis Tomlinson of One Direction ("The X Factor" U.K. third-place contestant in 2010)
One Direction's Louis Tomlinson, 22, is the member of the group who is most likely to make profanity-laced, no-holds-barred comments on Twitter. In 2013, he got into some Twitter sniping with "The X Factor" U.K. 2012 winner James Arthur and BBC Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw. Speaking of Grimshaw, he and Tomlinson have been rumored to be secret lovers with One Direction's Harry Styles. It's a rumor that all three men have denied, with Tomlinson making the loudest denials.
And that's why Tomlinson is so controversial. There's a huge percentage of One Direction fans who believe that Tomlinson is a closeted gay man and that his romance with University of Manchester student Eleanor Calder is fake. Tomlinson has repeatedly denied these allegations, but the fans who believe he's a gay and in love with Styles cannot be convinced otherwise. Many of these fans criticize Tomlinson because they think he is living a lie.
Meanwhile, Tomlinson caused some controversy for another reason, when his estranged biological father, Troy Austin, gave a Sunday Mirror interview claiming that Tomlinson is deliberately snubbing him and his teenage half-sister Georgia. Austin, who admits that he essentially abandoned Tomlinson as a child, said that he is not asking for money or favors but is asking for forgiveness for being an absentee father and a chance for Tomlinson and Georgia to get to know each other better.
Tomlinson's only public response to this family rift was this comment on Twitter: "I'd like to start off the day by saying a big f*ck you to 'the mirror' :) on a happier note huge love to all out fans, you keep us going!!"
7. Tamera Foster ("The X Factor" U.K. fifth-place contestant in 2013)
Just before her "X Factor" audition was televised in September 2013, Tamera Foster, 16, found herself at the center of controversy when the Daily Mirror published Foster's deleted tweets from 2012, in which she bragged about smoking marijuana, sometimes laced with PCP. She immediately issued a public apology, but that wasn't the last of her previous bad behavior that was exposed by British tabloids.
It was also revealed that in 2012, Foster had assaulted another teenage girl in a bullying incident allegedly instigated by Foster and another girl. And in 2013, shortly after her first "X Factor" audition, Foster was caught shoplifting. Foster was never arrested for these crimes, but she issued more public apologies and insisted that she had turned her life around and changed for the better.
As for her "X Factor" performances, Foster forgot the lyrics in more than one performance, but the judges seemed to were very lenient on her for these major flubs, which caused controversy with viewers who felt that Foster was getting special treatment. Indeed, during her first audition in front of "The X Factor" judges, when Foster forgot the lyrics to Whitney Houston's "I Am Nothing," she was allowed to interrupt her audition to go backstage and get help from her entourage in remembering the lyrics. It's one thing for a contestant to be allowed to start over; it's another thing for to get a special privilege that contestants almost never get when they forget lyrics to a song.
When British tabloids revealed that Foster was Simon Cowell's favorite contestant to win on the show, the public backlash against Foster intensified. She ultimately came in fifth place. Foster also got some public criticism for giving the perception that she's a teenage vixen, since she dumped her boyfriend Joshante Amihyia after she found fame on "The X Factor" and reportedly had flings with One Direction's Niall Horan and fellow "X Factor" contestant Sam Callahan. Amihyia told The Sun that when he and Foster got together, she had seduced him, even though she knew that he already had a girlfriend, whom he eventually broke up with to be with Foster. As of this writing, Foster and Callahan's relationship is on-again, off-again. Few people think that this "showmance" will last.
9. Harry Styles of One Direction ("The X Factor" U.K. third-place contestant in 2010)
One Direction's Harry Styles, 19, started off 2013 with his famous breakup from Grammy-winning singer Taylor Swift. Because he refuses to give details to the media and fans about his love life, there were conflicting stories about why Styles and Swift's relationship ended. Some sources told the tabloids that Styles dumped Swift because she was a prude. Other sources told the tabloids that Swift dumped Styles because he had a wandering eye and did not want to be in a monogamous relationship. Whatever the reasons, Styles won't publicly reveal them, and Swift will probably give her version of events (without naming Styles) in at least one song on the album that she plans to release in 2014.
And rumors continued to swirl that Styles is bisexual, which he denied in a GQ interview in 2013. In the interview, Styles also denied rumors that he and Nick Grimshaw are dating. And there is still a substantial number of people who believe that Style and One Direction's Louis Tomlinson are secret lovers and soul mates. (Tomlinson has vehemently denied that he and Styles were ever romantically involved with each other.)
Meanwhile, One Direction fans and people in the celebrity media continued to debate who was really Styles "main squeeze" after his breakup with Swift, as he was seen on dates with Kimberly Stewart (one of Rod Stewart's daughters), Kendall Jenner (one of Kim Kardashian's half-sisters) and model Cara Delevingne, whom Styles has dated off and on since 2012. For the record, whenever Styles was asked in interviews in 2013 what his relationship status was, he always said he was single and available.
9. Zayn Malik of One Direction ("The X Factor" U.K. third-place contestant in 2010)
While One Direction's Harry Styles spent much of 2013 saying he was single and available, One Direction's Zayn Malik, 20, was just the opposite: His relationship with Little Mix's Perrie Edwards (whom he began dating in 2012) got even more serious, and Malik took it to the next level when he proposed to her on Aug. 17, 2013. Malik and Edwards (who is also 20) have not yet set a wedding date, but they have said in interviews that they are very happy and in love, and that their families approve of them getting married.
However, Malik continued to be accused of cheating on Edwards. In January 2013, an Australian waitress/former stripper named Courtney "CJ" Webb gave a tell-all interview to The Sun saying that she and Malik had sex at his London home while Edwards was away on tour. Webb claimed that Malik had lied to her by saying that he did not have a girlfriend, and she found out the truth after she saw some of Edwards' belongings in the house after her sexual encounter with Malik, and that's when he admitted that he had a girlfriend. Webb also made public a photo of a shirtless Malik sleeping in bed as "proof" of their one-night stand; she claims she took the photo after they had sex.
Malik and Edwards never publicly commented on these cheating allegations. Whatever problems this tabloid story may have caused, Edwards and Malik overcame those problems and were seen looking like a happy couple less than two weeks after the story was published. One Direction fans debated on how truthful Webb's story was.
Meanwhile, Malik caused alarm with One Direction fans in the summer of 2013, when he showed a sudden and dramatic weight loss. A source told Us Weekly that the weight loss was due to "stress," but fans wondered if drugs and/or an eating disorder were the real causes of Malik's bony physique. Malik has not publicly commented on why he lost so much weight in a short period of time.
10. Sam Callahan ("The X Factor" U.K. seventh-place contestant in 2013)
Every year on "The X Factor" U.K., there is a polarizing contestant in the Top 10 whose off-key singing becomes a point of contention. While many people hate that the contestant advances in the competition over more talented singers, fans of the contestant defend his or her popularity by saying that "The X Factor" isn't just about singing talent but is also about personality and charisma. In 2013, that controversial contestant was 19-year-old Sam Callahan, who came in seventh place on the show.
Callahan, who says he is heterosexual, caused a minor controversy when it was revealed that he posed semi-nude for gay men's magazines. He also got a reputation for being a jerk after tabloids reported that he and fellow "X Factor" contestant Tamera Foster broke up because he cheated on her by "sexting" a female model and sending her nude photos of himself. According to the tabloids, this cheating incident was after Callahan told the media that he loves Foster. Callahan and Foster's relationship has been on-again, off-again, but few people think the relationship will last. Callahan is unlikely to get a major record deal, but he seems to be carving out a niche for himself as a model who has a lot of gay male fans.