2010 X Factor winner Matt Cardle has suggested that some of the auditions during his time on the show were "questionable."
The singer says that Simon Cowell had his eye on eventual runners up One Direction from the early stages of the season.
"There were a few moments throughout the show where you could tell he was keeping an eye on the five boys," Cardle told RTÉ TEN. "Right from boot camp you could tell he was looking after them and right from the audition stages . . . some of the auditions were quite questionable...
"I won't go into them but there was one of the eh . . . um, I just think at certain points where it wasn't just pot luck that these five boys came together and that they got put through on the show.
"Before they started auditioning people, Simon was like 'I want five guys for a band' and that became clear. It wasn't like hang on, those guys didn't get through but they could be a band! Look at the guys in One Direction! They're all great-looking guys. They've covered every base."
Cardle, who released his second album The Fire last October, says that he is not bitter that One Direction’s huge global success has overshadowed his X Factor victory.
"I was having words put in my mouth the other day," he says. "I was being interviewed by a tabloid and I didn't even mention them but when the interview ran it, it said I didn't want to be puppets like JLS and One Direction," he says. "I got an absolute barrage of abuse from One Direction and JLS fans. I didn't even ****ing say it.
"The truth of the matter is I'm super, super proud of One Direction.
"We all went on that show with the same dream to be successful and the fact that they've done so much is brilliant. I've good mates with them. We spent nearly a year together. Ten weeks on the show and the show, it's like they're my mates and really nice guys."