An online campaign has begun to bring back Laura White after the singer was voted off The X Factor on Saturday night.

The "Laura White was robbed" petition had 5,263 by 18:15 GMT and rising after her exit from the show sparked controversy and accusations the result was fixed.

The petition claims "Laura White was tactically removed from the X-Factor," and demands the star be brought back.

Several Facebook groups have also sprung up along the same lines, with several posters claiming contestants are remaining in the competition due to sympathy, rather than talent.

Some fans claim the judges voted the 21-year-old off the show as she was a threat to their own acts. Only Cheryl Cole chose to keep White after a sing-off with Ruth Lorenzo.

The issue has even been raised in parliament, with culture secretary Andy Burnham remarking White's departure had been "very harsh", calling the singer "wonderful and very talented".

On being voted out, White said: "When Louis voted against me, I was shattered beyond belief. I can't express how gutted I was."

The BBC's talent show, Strictly Come Dancing, has also come under fire recently after the public voted off more talented contestants in favour of popular celebrities.

Veteran reporter John Sergeant remained in the show despite consistently low scores while pop star Heather Small was voted off.

10/11/2008 18:43:56