The X Factor winner Joe McElderry says the show needs to be a ‘safe space’ amid tell-all documentary rumours

Joe McElderry has spoken out about the possibility of The X Factor returning to screens and noted ways he hopes a new run will be different for the contestants.

McElderry won the sixth season of the singing competition show in 2009 before scoring a number one single with his cover of Miley Cyrus’s “The Climb”.

In the years since, the show has been accused of being “cruel” and “manipulative”. The X Factor was officially cancelled in 2021.

When asked about rumours of the programme’s possible return, McElderry offered a suggestion for a new season to improve on those in the past.

“I hope if it does come back, they do make some more changes to make it a bit more of a safe space for artists in terms of the way the contracts are formed and the aftercare of the artists and things like that,” he told the hosts on Fubar Radio show Access All Areas, Mail Online reports.

He continued: “We're hearing more and more stories about how people suffered on those shows, and not just X Factor, lots of other reality shows as well. It's not just that one.

“I do think changes are being made but I still think there's a long way to go. So, I hope if it does come back, it's made in a safe place in the artists' interests that are going onto the show.”

Earlier this month, it was reported that work is currently underway on a programme set to expose claims of bullying, exploitation, and harassment on the show.

The Independent has reached out to a spokesperson for The X Factor for comment.