'X Factor': Viewers criticise Robbie Williams for asking transgender singer his birth name

Laura Hannam
Felix Thomas impressed the X Factor judges and fans across Twitter.

X Factor judges were moved by transgender singer Felix Shepherd’s heartfelt audition on Saturday night’s episode.

However, some X Factor fans have criticised new judge Robbie Williams for asking the contestant his birth name.

20-year-old songwriting student Shepherd spoke openly to the judges about his transition from being an assigned at birth female to now identifying as a man.

“I’m here to prove to everyone that I’m more than just a transgender guy and we can be overlooked I suppose.

“I live a normal life, I sleep in, I know my mum thinks I leave things everywhere, I’m just like an everyday kind of person!” Shepherd said.

He went on to say his mum Helen had helped pay privately for his reassignment treatments, and that his friends and family had ‘gone out of their way’ to be supportive.

Williams then asked him what his birth name was, to which Shepherd replied ‘My name was Emily.’

Viewers on Twitter accused Williams of being insensitive by asking the question and that Shepherd’s original name is likely now seen by him as his ‘dead name.’

Shepherd chose to sing Kodaline’s ‘All I want’ because: “It’s the first song I ever performed. Obviously my voice has dropped, I had to adapt,” he explained.

The Birmingham student walked away with four yeses. New judge Louis Tomlinson praise him with ‘your tone is very, very exciting’ while fellow newbie judge Ayda Field said:

“This isn’t just about singing. At the very core of the competition it is about people. And everything you told us today makes you the most incredible contestant on this show. I think we would be very lucky to have you on this competition,” she said.

Viewers on Twitter also reacted overwhelmingly positively to Thomas’ performance with one calling him this year’s X Factor ‘winner’ and another rated his performance as ‘amazing.’

X Factor continues on Sunday on ITV.

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