After her recent showstopping performance on X Factor, judge Cheryl Cole gushed: “I thought you were adorable, I got you. I love your style of song and how you perform.
But I'm sorry Gamu," the judge told the 18-year Zimbabwean student who lives in Scotland before delivering the bad news.
“I don't think I can take you further forward. You just need to keep going and get some more experience.”
The surprising turn of events prompted an outpouring of outrage from British TV viewers on Twitter and Facebook. An online petition quickly filled with a thousand signatures and fans say they will write to MPs and immigration officials to block the deportation.
The pop singing Gamuchirai Nhengu had been living in the UK while her mother, Nokuthula Ngazana, completed her college studies. But Ngazana's visa expired and the application to remain was rejected as they did not meet refugee status criteria. The family now must leave the UK voluntarily or be forced to leave.
A live recording of soloist Nhengu at the Praise Gathering Choir in Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall can be seen at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wTtPxR9Y-0
Officials are understood to be speaking to Gamu and her family, who arrived in Scotland from Zimbabwe five years ago, about leaving the UK. They do not have a right to appeal and the singer cannot apply separately to remain here.