The X Factor finalists Little Mix are being tipped to be as big as the Spice Girls even if they do not win the final this weekend, according to The Sun.

The paper reports that the quartet – who are the first girl band ever to make the finals of the show – will be offered a record deal by Simon Cowell next week, who reportedly has plans to make them huge stars both in the UK and the US.

His plans include sending them on tour with former X Factor finalists One Direction – who finished third in the 2010 series – next year.

“Simon is thrilled by the quality of this year’s finalists – but he’s extra excited about Little Mix,” a source said. “He genuinely believes they could be bigger than the Spice Girls.”

“He’s had huge successes in his career but a girl band has not been one of them.”

The insider added that Simon would be watching the final via satellite from Los Angeles – where he is currently judging the finals of X Factor USA – and that he had already spread the word to industry colleagues about Little Mix, as well as lining up some top songwriters to work with them.

“The Spice Girls set the bar high but Simon thinks there’s no reason Little Mix can’t better them,” the source said. “They are young and they work phenomenally hard, so the sky’s the limit. There hasn’t been such love for a girl band in years.”

The girls are currently the bookies’ favourites to win this weekend’s final with odds of 11-8, with Amelia Lily at 9-4 and Marcus Collins at 2-1.