The new series of X Factor, headed by judge Louis Walsh, started this weekend but will be continuing without Rough Copy.
20 August 2012
UK visa row taints X Factor opening
The new series of the X Factor has gotten off to a tough start after hot favourite boyband act Rough Copy had to drop out over a delayed UK visa application.
Three-piece boyband Rough Copy from London had already progressed through the previously-filmed audition and 'boot-camp' stages but hit a hitch when invited to the 'Judge's Houses' stage of the show when one of the members was told he would not be allowed to re-enter the country without a valid UK visa.
All of the four judges, Louis Walsh, Gary Barlow, Tulisa Contostavlos and Nicole Scherzinger, take their promising young acts home for intense one-to-one rehearsal sessions but as all of the judges' houses are abroad, Kazeem Ajobe, 23, of Rough Copy, was told he would not be permitted to re-enter the UK should he leave.
Mr Ajobe was born in Nigeria but moved to South London as a child and has not yet received the outcome of his permanent residency application from the UK Border Agency (UKBA).
As a result, the act has now been axed from the competition.
"We are gutted that we have had to leave the competition as we were having such a great time," said Mr Ajobe.
"Hopefully, if everything is OK with my visa, we can apply again next year."
The boyband was widely considered a favourite for the competition, with one X Factor source saying their progress to the final was 'almost a formality'.
"It's a total disaster. The band's progress into the finals was almost a formality and the producers were really excited about them.
"But they found out about the visa situation just as they were organising flights – and were left gutted when they realised the scale of the problem.
“They have no option but to axe them from the competition and replace them with another band which has proved a massive headache.
An official spokesperson for the show, which aired the first episode of its ninth season this weekend confirmed the group's departure and said that UK immigration checks were always carried out at this stage as the sheer number of acts in previous rounds would make it impossible to do.
The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.