X Factor rejects Hope have denied that their time on the ITV1 talent show was marred by internal rivalries.

Rumours had persisted that the dominant role taken by 16-year-old Phoebe Brown had upset other members in the girl group, with judge Louis Walsh highlighting that the other members seemed like backing vocalists to Brown.

But following their eviction from the show this Saturday - after underwhelming performances of the Spice Girls' 2 Become 1 and Queen's We Will Rock You - the band have denied that they had fractured after their cover of Christina Aguilera's Hurt was ridiculed by judges.

Talking to Digital Spy, 20-year-old Raquelle Gracie rubbished the rumours, saying: "We've all been totally supportive of each other.

"When Phoebe was given the lead vocal on Hurt, we were pleased because she's the one who sounded best on that song.

"That's how we do it - whoever sounds best on a particular track gets to sing the solo. You know, we had to be there for Phoebe because she's only 16 and it was a lot of pressure for her to sing lead."

And Phoebe commented: "For me, it was a lot of pressure, but all the girls were really supportive and I just did my best with it. It was really nerve-wracking when I was standing there waiting to go onstage - I was shaking my little boots off - but I tried to be as confident as I could."

Hope had been in the bottom two of the talent show on three occasions over the last month and, after being voted off this weekend, leave Scottish singer Leon, dinner lady Niki, brother-and-sister duo Same Difference and Welsh tenor Rhydian Roberts in the competition.

"We want Rhydian to win now," Phoebe added. "He's so dedicated, he works really hard and he's always been such a sweetheart to us, so he's the one we're backing."

04/12/2007 12:25:12