Former X Factor Australia contestants and others close to the reality show have slammed it for the "awful" conditions on set.

Mother and daughter duo Johanna and Bianca Vitalone told the Sydney Morning Herald contestants filmed for long hours, often without breaks or even water, then songs were chosen for them only for them to later be criticised for their song choices.

"I think the reason they put a lot of stress on young people and don't give them water or breaks is for ratings. It makes people break down more when they're run down," Mrs Vitalone said.

"A little boy fainted during filming. I think he was around 14. We were filming from really early in the morning and nobody had any water."


Another artist, who wanted to remain anonymous on account of a non-disclosure agreement she signed with the show, said she felt badgered by producers who probed for personal information for the show.

"Some people came out of interviews and had been crying," she said. "They really manipulate you and ask probing questions to try and make you emotional."

Other contestants said during the interviews they were asked about the deaths of relatives and sad moments in their lives.

"They really, really hound the kids psychologically in interviews to see what pushes their buttons and see what upsets them," said an agent. "I find that quite sickening."

Another said she had seen several contestants "broken" by the experience - a claim which Melbourne producer Lee Bradshaw backed up, saying the psychological damage was "unbelievable".

There were claims that artists were kept on stage for hours at a time, unable to leave, and reports of being kept in a sports centre with no food, water or heating in the middle of winter.

"A lot of the contestants fell sick afterwards because we had to wait all day to be interviewed and it was freezing," said an artist from this season. "One contestant fell really ill and he spent the whole three days of bootcamp in bed rest."

Channel Seven has vehemently denied the allegations, saying claims the artists were not allowed breaks was "bizarre". They added that meals and bottled water were provided and contestants were free to leave the audition centre at any time.

"The welfare of contestants at every stage of the competition is an absolute priority for the production," a Channel Seven spokesperson told the SMH.

"Every effort is made to ensure they are safe, cared for and their needs are being met. There are well-established procedures in place to ensure the safety and welfare of contestants is of the highest industry standards at all times."

The X Factor Australia airs in New Zealand on Saturdays at 7pm on TV3