Former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq chats to us about being the new girl on The Xtra Factor and dishes the dirt on Simon Cowell and this year’s hopefuls!

So Konnie, what’s it like being the new girl?
“Being the new girl is fun! Everyone sees you as a bit of a novelty. There’s a great gang of people on The Xtra Factor, so it’s like being with a group of friends making this crazy programme!”

It’s not your average nine to five, are you finding it tiring?
“Yes it is quite tiring because we get there first thing and leave around midnight! On a typical day I’ll get up early, have my hair and make-up done at the hotel and then go straight to the audition venue. We chat to Dermot and the judges, and then it’s off to the car park to interview the contestants. Often people have an interesting back story, so I might find myself breakdancing or even playing conkers! When you get back to the hotel at the end of the day it’s really late, but it can be hard to unwind – there’s too much adrenaline!

Have you come across any unexpected challenges?
“I hadn’t realised that I’d be on display to that extent. There’s loads of people with camera phones and anyone can take a photo of you and post it on Twitter. You have to be careful not to spill your drink down your top!”

Dermot must be fun to work with. Has he helped you settle in?
“Dermot’s on my wavelength – we do have really good fun together. There’s a funny section on the show called ‘Delving into Dermot’, where I get people in the queue to come up with questions for him. They can be quite off the wall sometimes, so we have a laugh!”

Were you scared about having Simon Cowell as your new boss?
“Simon has got such a kind heart and he’s so much funnier than you might imagine. People think he’s scary, but he’s actually very caring – it’s just that he’s honest as well.”

Have you got any favorite contestants yet?
“You spot some singers at the auditions and think ‘wow’, but sometimes the ones that you think are dead certs crumble at Boot Camp. I’d like a group to win this year, but I’m keeping my options open.”