X Factor presenter Olly Murs has revealed that his mother rang him up to call him a "plonker" after his elimination gaffe led to accusations that the show had been fixed.

Two weeks ago, the 31-year-old told contestant Monica Michael that she was going home rather than facing a public vote.

When she was indeed knocked out after losing the vote - before returning as a wildcard this week - Murs was accused of letting slip that the show was rigged.

But Murs, himself the runner-up on the X Factor in 2009, said he was confused and told angry fans they have no idea what pressure he is under as presenter.

"It was a pivotal moment and I just got confused about what was happening next," he told Daily Mail Weekend.

"I said the wrong words to Simon (Cowell) and I just lost the plot and said, 'OK Monica, I'm so sad to see you go' when I should have said, 'We're going to deadlock'.

"In my earpiece I was being told by the production team I'd made a mistake - but they didn't say what the mistake was. I was completely - what's the word? - confused."

Murs's mother phoned him afterwards to scold him, he revealed. "She said, 'You plonker. What were you thinking?' But then the whole storm blew up, she became quite defensive of me. I mean the reaction was a bit much."

Teaming up with Caroline Flack, Murs replaced former presenter Dermot O'Leary on the music show.

Murs said: "Well, it was no secret I was learning on the job, and I think I've done pretty well considering. I'm sure if you look at clips of Dermot at the beginning, he wouldn't be as slick as he was by the end.

"We all make mistakes. I've been amazed at the number of presenters who've Tweeted me to say 'It happens to us all' - including Dermot, Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby."

Murs, who recently split up with long-term girlfriend Francesca Thomas, said he and Flack are "like brother and sister", after rumours resurfaced of a fling.

He said: "Well, if it didn't happen three or four years ago then it isn't going to happen now. To be honest, it would mess everything up. Say me and Caroline slept with each other, then we had an argument but still had to work together. How would that work? There'd be friction. We'd lose that flirtatious thing, that chemistry.

"We're both quite flirtatious people and yes, we flirt with each other, but that's part of the act, isn't it? But we're mates. We just spark off each other. We're more like brother and sister now."