Not funny: Gary Barlow reportedly rifled through X Factor contestant Ceri Rees' handbag after her painful audition but the scenes were cut

X Factor judge Gary Barlow has been accused of going through a vulnerable contestant's bag in humiliating scenes cut from the show.

He reportedly pulled out Ceri Rees' passport after her painful audition in an attempt to gain laughs from the audience.

But they booed when he held the document and quipped: 'A passport? You won't be needing that.'

The four judges had told 54-year-old Ceri, who has auditioned for the show four times, that she wouldn't be going through to the next round.

Gary then walked up to the stage and sat with her.

In the bad books: Gary was booed by the audience when he took Ceri's passport out of her bag and told her 'you won't be needing this'

Audience member Ashlei Swain, 26, said: 'She had her handbag so Gary was going on about why it was so special. He started rifling through it and found her passport.

'He held it up and mocked her and tried to get the audience to laugh with him. But people were booing.'

Gary, 40, had already mocked Ceri's pronunciation of Les Miserables.

Viewers on Sunday night were shown a seven-minute clip of her performing I Dream A Dream from Les Miserables and Whitney Housten's I Will Always Love You.

She arrived on stage with a bunch of flowers for Louie Walsh who she said was her 'favourite judge'.

Her appearance on the show has been criticised by mental health charities and celebrity fans.

Ceri's singing tutor claimed she was approached by X Factor bosses to go back on the show despite being rejected three times by the panel before.

She was offered hotel accommodation and travel costs.

Her brother Michael Martin is now planning legal action against the show bosses.
A family friend said: 'He has been to see a solicitor. the family accept that Ceri was not forced to go on.

'But the programme makers have a responsibility to ensure that contestants are mentally and physically fit enough to take part.'

ITV presenter Lorraine Kelly tweeted this week: 'Uncomfy to watch ceri on x factor - she's a poor wee soul.'

Singer Lily Allen added: 'they shouldn't have aired that audition, she's clearly ill.'

Mark Davies, director of communications at the charity Rethink Mental Illness, said: 'While we can't speculate on the state of Ceri's mental health, she does appear vulnerable and it was clear she had been set up to fail.'

A spokeswoman for the show said: 'The X Factor is open to everybody to apply and we regularly welcome back contestants who want to audition again.

'Ceri has been taking singing lessons since she last appeared on the show and she wanted to have her vocals judged by a new panel as she hadn't been successful with the previous line-up.

'Her audition was the same length as the other key stories we have featured in the series and Ceri has assured the team today that she is happy she auditioned for the show.'

The show employs psychologists during the auditions to help programme makers and asks contestants to 'declare any health issues'.

TV bosses canned footage of another eccentric performance last year after concerns were raised about east London hopeful Shirlena Johnson's health.

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