Louis Walsh on his new fellow judges, missing Simon Cowell and why Cheryl and Ashley Cole are made for each other

OK, we’ll admit it. We’ve fallen for Louis Walsh.

When we caught up with him at a posh Dublin hotel he reminded us of an incredibly likeable Irish cat that’s got the cream.

Life is good. I love my work,’ Louis, 59, grins. I can’t believe I’m still getting away with it!’

He seems to be getting on fine with new X Factor judges Kelly Rowland, Tulisa Contostavlos and Gary Barlow.

But does he miss Cheryl Cole and Dannii Minogue? And just how competitive are Tulisa and Kelly?

‘I was really lucky that I bonded with Tulisa immediately,’ he tells us.

‘I had no idea who she was. I told her: “I was expecting a chav in a tracksuit with lots of tattoos, going ‘yo, man’ and I got this gorgeous girl.”

‘She loved it. I think we bonded because her mother is Irish.

‘I keep calling her band The N-Dubz just to annoy her. She says: It’s not The N-Dubz, Louis, it’s N-Dubz.’

‘But I seriously didn’t know who they were.’

Louis reckons Kelly Rowland is a full-time diva.

‘But do you know what? She’s earned it,’ he says. ‘She’s been doing it since she was seven. She’s like an athlete because she takes the whole thing so seriously.

‘There was always rivalry between Cheryl and Dannii. It wasn’t a bad thing, but I think Kelly and Tulisa get on better.

‘They’re going to fall out, though, especially about the music. Kelly doesn’t understand how things work in England.

‘She has to realise it’s not all about the singing – likeability is No 1. She’s not used to being criticised, either.’

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