Dexter Haygood Talks Leaving “The X Factor”

Dexter Haygood – Former “The X Factor” contestant Dexter Haygood said he wasn’t pushed off Fox’s new singing contest. He jumped.

The singer was among five contestants eliminated from the show last week. But he said that what viewers saw didn’t reflect the whole story, including a behind-the-scenes agreement to ensure the swift exit he wanted.

According to the 49-year-old singer, who was part of mentor-judge Nicole Scherzinger’s group of age 30-plus contestants, he told Scherzinger two days before last Wednesday’s live performance show that he was dissatisfied with “X Factor.”

“I wanted to leave the show because I was unhappy that I was unable to be a rock artist. I grew up on rock,” says Dexter, of Memphis, Tenn., who enjoyed the spotlight in the 1980s as front man for the rock group Xavion, which toured at one point with Hall and Oates.

Producers “seemed to have their way of doing things. I’m not sure why they wouldn’t let me be me,” he said Tuesday. Scherzinger, former member of the Pussycat Dolls, took his complaint to the show’s producers and came back the same day with an offer, according to Dexter: He would be bounced on Thursday’s results show if he agreed to return for the season finale.

Haygood said he was contractually bound to remain on the show and wouldn’t have quit, but he appreciated the out he was given, despite the $5 million record contract that goes to the winner.

He also expressed frustration with how much the show highlighted his difficult circumstances, including “living couch to couch” in Memphis since he lost his home to foreclosure in 2007.

“I was treated more like a character than an artist. This is TV, they want a good story, you know? But they took that and I didn’t get a chance to be an artist. I was doing things I would never do,” he said. He voiced appreciation for the exposure “X Factor” gave him, which put him back in touch with members of his old band. They are in talks for a comeback tour and may appear on the season-ender of “X Factor,” he said.

“The judges are great,” he said, including Cowell, whom he called “a very nice guy.”

“They understood me even though they couldn’t give me what I wanted,” Haygood added.

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