Steve Jones asks "X Factor" fans to chill out the hate

Tue Dec 6, 2011 4:22pm EST
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "X Factor" host Steve Jones on Tuesday pleaded with angry fans to "chill out" after hateful online comments against judges who threw a 14-year-old singer off the TV talent show.

The British host also hit back at his own critics of his performance on the TV talent contest, defending himself against charges of rudeness and saying he hoped to be back for a second season next year.

"Hopefully I will be back for season 2. If I'm back, I'll be overjoyed. If I'm not. I'll do something else. It's as simple as that ... It's a dream job. I'd be back in a heartbeat for a second season," Jones, 34, told reporters on a conference call.

As the U.S. version of "The X Factor" approaches its climax later this month, eliminations got heated last week when 14-year-old singer Drew Ryniewicz -- a protege of British creator and judge Simon Cowell -- was thrown out of the running for the $5 million prize and recording contract in a split decision by the four judges.

Drew's exit left Cowell furious and speechless on last week's live TV show, and led to a diatribe of vicious comments on social media, particularly against judges Paula Abdul and Nicole Scherzinger.

One online posting said Abdul and Scherzinger should "burn in hell" for sending the tearful Drew home.

"I know there is a lot of money and a lot of fame at stake. But still, everybody just chill out please. It's a TV show," Jones told reporters on a conference call.

Fox said it had no comment on the remarks by fans, which some media outlets have characterized as death threats.

Five contestants -- Melanie Amaro, Marcus Canty, Rachel Crowe, Chris Rene and Josh Krajcik -- remain in the contest, whose winner will be decided on December 22.   Continued...