X Factor judge Louis Walsh has tipped one of his rival judges’ acts to win the series after backing painter and decorator Matt Cardle to lick the competition.

Louis, who is looking after the Over 28 category, told Hello! magazine that he thought one of Dannii Minogue’s charges would triumph in the show.

Speaking ahead of next weekend’s first live rounds, he said: “The winner is going to be the one with the most votes, but I think Matt has got something very special about him.”

Until a last minute change in the rules, 27-year-old Matt would have been in Louis’ group of older contestants.

But the minimum age for the ‘overs’ group this year is 28, rather than the previous 26, which means Matt is in the boys’ group with Dannii as his mentor.

Louis said despite initially struggling to get on with Aussie judge Dannii, the pair have formed an alliance against fellow judges Cheryl and Simon.

“That is true and it will be like that this year,” he said. He said he had been caught up in the feud between former judge Sharon Osbourne and Dannii but has now “discovered that Dannii has a really good side and is a great judge”.

He added: “Dannii is really hard working and she cares about her contestants and I’ve really seen another side of her… Even though she was off during her pregnancy she was very much involved and kept informed of everything that was going on.”

Louis also took a swipe at show boss Simon Cowell’s vanity.

“He grooms himself to death – he’s actually getting younger looking with every series. He’s a brilliant judge of what people want and he works very hard. Of all of us he works the hardest.”

The full interview is in the new edition of Hello!