Presenters Caroline Flack and Olly Murs dragged X Factor into the gutter, according to former talent show crooner Christopher Maloney.

The wannabe pop star, known for his teary reactions to results shows when he appeared on the ITV competition in 2012, has slated the presenting duo for apparently making a mockery of the programme when they were in charge of ITV2 spin-off The Xtra Factor.

Olly, who is one of the talent search’s success stories, and TV favourite Caroline fronted the series in the year that Christopher took part, before taking the helm of the main ITV show in 2015.

Olly and Caroline didn’t make a fan of Christopher Maloney (Peter Byrne/PA)

But according to Digital Spy, Christopher ranted: “I think when Olly and Caroline did it, it lost credibility – it was more jokey, it was more of a piss take out of the acts.

“They took the piss out of everyone – Rylan, James Arthur – it got to the point it lost credibility and it reflected on the main show.

“In my opinion, that’s why it lost a lot of viewers. Now they’ve brought it back to basics, and the spin-off show has Rylan and Matt Edmondson – I think it’s much better.”

Christopher competed in 2012 (Thames/Syco Entertainment)

Long-time host Dermot O’Leary is now back in charge on a Saturday night, and the judges are Simon Cowell, Sharon Osbourne, Louis Walsh and Nicole Scherzinger.

Christopher said of the judges in his year: “When I was on the show, Nicole looked after Jahmene [Douglas] and James really, really well. And Gary [Barlow] had my back all the way through it. They were involved with us, but I don’t think the previous judges were that much.”

The former Celebrity Big Brother contestant ended up with a reputation as a backstage diva on the show, but said it had all been a ploy to fix results.

Christopher and his X Factor mentor Gary Barlow (Dave Thompson/PA)

“They made out I was a bad person and I was really bad backstage to get The X Factor in the papers. I was probably the nicest, [most] down-to-earth person on there,” he said.

“It was all to sway the votes. I got seven out of the nine weeks on top of the polls, and they had to do something to prevent me from winning. And that was the way they did it.”