Veteran judge Louis Walsh enjoys all the fun of the X Factor auditions, but not when Simon’s giving out his phone number!

It’s the fifth series of The X Factor – are you excited?
“I am really excited, I love doing the show so much, every year we have such a good laugh and although I am going to really miss Sharon this year I’m delighted Cheryl has joined the show. It’s something I always get really involved in, even if it can be like living in a soap opera sometimes!”

You discovered Cheryl during Popstars: The Rivals. Do you remember her audition?
“Of course I do! Cheryl always really stood out for me and to see Girls Aloud still going strong six years later is amazing and a real testament to all their hard work. I’m really proud of Cheryl and all the girls.”

What’s it like having managed Cheryl in Girls Aloud to now having her as a judge on the show?
“It’s amazing how far she has come in six years. The great thing about Cheryl is that she knows what the contestants are going through because she has done it, so she can offer them all really good advice.”

You’ve received a lot of attention this year from some of the female contestants. How does that feel?
“It’s quite nice! Although Simon will take the mickey out of me afterwards, and they always seem to be the older ladies not the young ones. It’s when Simon starts handing out my phone number that I get annoyed. Beula, from series two, still rings me after he gave her my number all those years ago!”

strong>What do you enjoy most about the audition days?
“I love the banter we have on the judging panel. Simon and I are the two old blokes who like a particular style of music, then you have Dannii and Cheryl who obviously have completely different music, so it makes for an interesting day as we are always bickering over acts and who we all prefer.”

Which category would you like to mentor this year and why?
“Well, every year I say I don’t want the groups, but we have had a few strong groups come through so I might change my mind this year.”

In your view, what is The X Factor?
“It is someone that not only has an amazing vocal ability, but also the personality and stage presence to win over an audience. Cheryl used to say in the audition room that some people just have the ‘magic stardust’ about them and I completely agree with that. Some people just shine.”