The 5 Biggest 'X Factor' Scandals

Natalia Kills and Willy Moon
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Natalia Kills and Willy Moon at the MediaWorks New Season Content Launch 2015 on Oct. 30, 2014 in Auckland, New Zealand. 

The recent firings of husband-and-wife team Natalia Kills and Willy Moon kicked off an insane week in The X Factor universe after the duo berated a contestant during a live broadcast.

The brutal treatment of New Zealand hopeful Joe Irvine -- who dared to wear a suit, prompting Kills to accuse him of jacking Moon's style -- is the latest in a long line of controversies in the international program's history.

While Kills has asked the public to put the "manufactured conspiracy" behind them and the show clamors to find a replacement judge for the series' third episode -- rumors are swirling that I Am Giant drummer Shelton Woolright has the job in the bag -- Billboard is taking a look at some of the international franchise's wildest moments, weirdest decisions and judging controversies.

Natalia Kills Speaks To Billboard: 'Sometimes TV Producers Plan Drama For Ratings'

Sharon Osbourne vs. Louis Walsh
Mentors Sharon Osbourne and Louis Walsh on the U.K. version of The X Factor have had their share of differences, with Osbourne throwing a Coke in Walsh's face after he insulted a 16-year-old contestant. Things really got heated in 2005, when Osbourne doused her co-star in water after he accused her of "taking Ozzy's drugs." Walsh threatened to quit because he said he was being "bullied" but returned to the show the next week.

Cheryl Cole in General
Where to begin with X Factor U.K. mentor/judge Cheryl Cole? While she has been in the center of several questionable decisions, there was none quite as polarizing as her decision to allow then-contestant Cher Lloyd through to the next round of the competition after a completely tone-deaf performance of Mike Posner's "Cooler Than Me." Granted, Lloyd was sick and went on to have a hit with "Want You Back," but at the time, fans were outraged that Guam Nhengu was booted off the show. To add insult to injury: Nhengu couldn't come back as a wild card because her family was being deported to Zimbabwe.

'X Factor' New Zealand Names Replacements for Natalia Kills, Willy Moon

Nicole Scherzinger's Indecision Results in Rachel Crow's Elimination
In the U.S. version of The X Factor, season 1 mentor Nicole Scherzinger made waves and was the recipient of much anger and hate mail when she refused to make a voting decision between 13-year-old Rachel Crow and Marcus Canty. Her refusal to break the deadlock and leave the decision up to America resulted in the ouster of Crow, whose breakdown on camera drew the ire of the viewers. Scherzinger did not return to the show in subsequent seasons, but resurfaced on the U.K. version in 2012. There, she caused drama by putting singer Rylan Clark -- branded a "joke contestant" by judge Gary Barlow -- through to the live shows.

Convicted Murderer Shae Brider Advances Through to Boot Camp
Was it poor fact-checking? This year's tumultuous season of New Zealand's The X Factor had an ugly start in February when contestant Shae Brider was awarded an opportunity to compete at boot camp. In the episode, Brider confessed he was convicted of manslaughter in 2004 and served six years for the murder of 16-year old Jeremy Travers. His appearance greatly offended Travers' mother, Donna. While the show pointed out that under New Zealand law, Brider had paid his debt to society, the show began the Boot Camp episodes with an apology to the family for any distress his appearance caused. 

Natalia Kills & Willy Moon Apologize for 'X Factor' Fiasco: 'Things Got Out Of Hand'

One Direction Accused of Lip-Synching
2005 X Factor winner Shayne Ward caused some waves in the British press when he accused then-contestants One Direction of lip-synching during the competition. The show vehemently denied the allegations. One Direction finished in third place that season, while Matt Cardle went on to take the crown.