The X Factor judges have reportedly learned which categories they will be mentoring this year, according to The Sun – and Gary Barlow in particular could have an uphill battle on his hands.

The paper reports that the Take That singer will be given the job of looking after the Over 28s this year, after Simon Cowell personally rang the judges and told each of them which category they would be handling.

Meanwhile Louis – who is often given the Overs category – will reportedly mentor the groups this year, while newcomer Nicole Scherzinger has been given the boys and Tulisa Contostavlos – who led Little Mix to victory in 2011 – has got the girls.

Gary is now faced with the possibility of mentoring some of the novelty acts that this category – which has not produced a winner since Steve Brookstein in the very first series in 2004 – often produces.

“Gary doesn’t like joke acts and the Overs category is often full of novelty acts,” a source told the paper.

“In the past when Louis has mentored them, the public got used to jokey acts like Wagner Carillho and Johnny Robinson. Gary is preparing himself for an uphill battle.”

The singer also turned down plans to go to New York for the judges houses stage in order to be as close to the UK as possible in case his wife Dawn goes into labour.

His fourth child is due to arrive at around the same time as the judges make their choices for the final.