Gary Barlow in X Factor age row

The Take That star has branded the current minimum age – of 16 – 'too young' after sending teen Luke Lucas home

Last week the X Factor hit the headlines after mentor Tulisa Contosavlos reportedly axed group The Keys for being ‘too posh’.

And now the show is back in the news once again, after Take That star and 2011 judge Gary Barlow called into question the minimum age for contestants appearing on the show.

X FACTOR 2011: MEET THE FINAL 16

During the judges houses section of the show over the weekend, viewers saw 16-year-old contestant Luke Lucas in tears, after struggling with his performance in front of Gary Barlow and guest Robbie Williams.

And yesterday, Gary failed to put Luke through to the live stages of the show, claiming the youngster was ‘too young’ to cope with the pressure of appearing on the X Factor.

‘Sixteen is just too young to be in this competition with this kind of pressure, but some 16-year-olds are more mature than others,’ the judge told the Daily Mail. ‘Luke is just too young. 

‘I have a responsibility here as well. It was too much for him – no wonder he cracked under the pressure.’

Insiders added the teen found the pressure ‘really difficult’ leading to some calling for the X Factor’s minimum age to be raised to 18. 

‘Luke found the pressure really difficult. He messed up one of his songs then started crying when he feared he had blown his chance,’ a source told the Sun.

‘Gary and Robbie were really worried.’

But an X Factor spokesman added: ‘All contestants are judged and assessed individually. If any of our younger contestants is deemed too immature to deal with the pressures of the competition they are advised to re-apply in future years. 

Luke may not have made it through, but in Miami,Amelia Lily andJanet Devlin– both sixteen – joined Sophie Habibis and Mischa Bryan in Kelly Rowland’s final four, while Tulisa Contosavlos put through groups 2 Shoes, Rythmix, NuVibe and The Risk.

Do YOU think the right contestants were put through to the live shows this weekend? Let us know in the comments box below…

X FACTOR 2011: MEET THE FINAL 16

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