The X Factor's claim to fame is discovering fresh talent, but some contestants are fresher than others.
Christchurch boy band Moorhouse met with a talent scout from Sony last year but makers of the television talent show deny the meeting contradicts its rules.
Prior to the group entering the show, Moorhouse's manager, Nate Phillips of Majestic Church, in an interview in September 2012, said the band had generated interest from agencies in Australia and had also met with Sony.
"The boys have an original song that they're working on," Phillips said at the time.
"Our next big gig will be a concert to release that single and they're working on their debut album. We've had a meeting with Sony."
The terms and conditions of The X Factor, which screens on TV3, state that as a requirement of participation in the show, entrants have not "previously entered into any commercial, contractual, sponsorship or other agreement or arrangement with any person, firm or company in respect of my musical and/or performing abilities".
Section 9 of the terms and conditions also requires that contestants have "no association and/or connection with Sony".
A spokesperson for Sony confirmed that an "artists and repertoire" (A&R) manager did meet with Moorhouse last year but said nothing eventuated.
"That is as far as it went," the spokesperson said.
A&R is the division of a record label or music publishing company that is responsible for talent-scouting and overseeing the artistic development of recording artists and/or songwriters.
When asked for comment Phillips said he considered Moorhouse to be "on the same playing field" as other contestants.
"We were aware of the conditions of The X Factor from the start," he said.
"Yes, previously they have met with Sony but nothing concrete eventuated from that meeting. That was the reason I pushed [the band] to enter The X Factor, to hopefully get signed by Sony."
Andrew Szusterman, co-executive producer of The X Factor, said Moorhouse had "no unfair advantage" over other contestants.
"A number of our contestants have spoken to record labels prior to entering The X Factor and we consider this all a part of treating the industry seriously. There's no unfair advantage.
"At the end of the day the public decides who will win the competition."
Do you send Christmas cards?Related story: Christmas is still on the cards for some