BY carrie catterall
AN X Factor contestant who punched her friend in the face during a televised audition says she regrets lashing out.
Abbey Johnstone, who lives in Lillington, went on the ITV1 show which will be watched by millions tomorrow (Saturday, 7.30pm), with her then best friend Lisa Parker.
But their chance of fame - a performance of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’ - was brought to a premature end when Abbey struck her singing partner for being ‘rude’.
The pair had to be separated by security guards and were booed off stage during the auditions in Birmingham.
Guest judge Natalie Imbruglia was shocked as Cheryl Cole said: “She punched her in the face!”
Abbey, 18, said: “Everything just got out of control and I’d got myself really worked up.
“Lisa had forgotten her words just before we went on the stage so I was trying to help her remember them which got me muddled up.
“There were thousands of people in the audience, which was really scary and then Lisa told Louis Walsh I fancied him and that I wanted to run away with him.
“She then said he was old enough to be my grandfather, which I thought was really rude, so I hit her.
“She was making me look like an idiot and it just all got too much for me. I regret it now and am sorry.”
Abbey, who plans to attend Warwickshire College in Rugby this month, walked off the stage prior to the incident to calm down, but was told to go back onto the stage by the production crew.
She said she was feeling “really angry” and didn’t want to go back on stage but felt like she had no choice.
The 18-year-old, who has two elder brothers and two younger sisters, lives with her mother, her mother’s boyfriend and her 21-year-old fiance Gethin.
She said: “The whole experience was overwhelming and the incident has now put a lot of stress on my family.
“My mum told me not to go on the show and now I wish I had listened to her.
“Because of what happened Lisa and I, who used to do virtually everything together, aren’t friends any more and there are groups being set up on Facebook, saying I deserve a slap, which is horrible.
“These people really need to watch the show and see what happened before they make comments.
“Although I have anger issues I don’t just randomly hit people.
“I just want to say sorry to Lisa and her mum and also to the judges because I was back-chatting a lot during the audition which I regret.”
She added: “I’m more nervous about watching the show tomorrow than I was about doing my audition.”