CROYDON'S Ben Haenow said that he thinks Mel B is threatened by the talent in the X Factor overs category.
The feisty judge told Ben to "be a man" after he had a throat infection early last week.
Mel said on Saturday's live show: "Don't be a wuss and complain about yourself being ill, we all get ill and when you go on tour you're just going to have to deal with that 'cause that's just what happens so be a man."
The Advertiser caught up with Ben and he joked: "She likes to have a dig. Particularly with me and Jay in the overs - I think they maybe feel threatened in the boys group.
"But a couple of her boys were ill as well, so funny she didn't mention anything about that," he added.
Ben said there was an "epidemic" in the X Factor house last week as the contestants live in such close proximity.
"It was cool because it was a bit of a level playing field," he added.
The 29-year-old van driver from Shirley made it through the second round of live shows after singing John Lennon's Jealous Guy for the 80s themed night.
But he said he is not a jealous guy when it comes to his girlfriend Jessica Jones, a 27-year-old dance teacher from Shirley.
"I love that song to bits but we don't really do jealousy," said Ben.
"She's a very, very beautiful girl. I'm not jealous and I'm not worried about anything, and I really believe she's much the same. We've been together for so long and we love each other so much it's not like anything could get in the way."
Ben said he hopes to have down days mid week to get back to Croydon to see Jessica soon.
He said: "It's been tough being away from her but I speak to her and text her daily, and give her a call in the evenings. On the weekends I spend Saturday and Sunday evenings with her."
Jessica and Ben's family have watched all of his performances, which he said have been the "most amazing experience of my life".
"Every single stage gets better and better and to be up there going into people's living rooms live on Saturday is unbelievable," he said.
"Every Saturday when my family come down they're the loudest cheerers in the crowd. It's amazing knowing that they're there, and trying to spot them in the crowd. I think I was waving at Paul Akister's family at one point thinking they were mine."
Ben said that the competition is getting tougher, but the contestants are still good friends, and the house doesn't feel the same when someone leaves.
"When Blond Electric went, those girls were adorable and amazing people and they brought such energy to the house and that's gone," he said.
"Sunday the mood dampens and Monday and Tuesday it's people moping around a bit. You realise people have gone and the house feels emptier.
"If I go or one of my lads go it's going to be really difficult. When you come back to the house you're so relieved to have your mates back."
But Ben said he is excited, not anxious, about the rest of the competition.
"I haven't been doing anything to calm down, just getting a lot of make-up done and styling and that type of thing is quite relaxing.
"It's just getting everybody excited and using the nerves in a good way instead of pacing the halls and letting them get to you. We all band together and have a bit of a sing song."
Last week, Ben's brother Alex told the Advertiser how they closed a bar down while on holiday in Kos, Greece after so many people came and sang along to their set the police were called to stop the noise.
"It was brilliant! There were people coming down and just going mental for us," Ben said. "Everyone was drunk and having a good time and yeah, we got the bar closed down. That was cool. It's the most rock and roll thing we've done."