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I hate that we Irish are so negative, but I would never leave here - Louis

X FACTOR veteran Louis Walsh believes "begrudgery is the Irish disease".

The music mogul has revealed his theory that Ireland is the most negative place to live -- but he still loves his home country.

And Louis says that as the only original judge still on the hit show, he is having the last laugh over his critics.

"It's my eighth year doing X Factor and of course you get criticised," he told the Herald. "I've been slagged all my life. It makes you tougher and harder. It makes you more determined and you get on with it.



boyzone

"But you get a lot of negative people in Ireland. Ireland is the most negative place at the moment to live in because everyone's watching everyone else.

"People slagged me when I started Boyzone, that made me work twice as hard.

"Begrudgery is the Irish disease and it's only a small amount of people who have it -- but they have it really bad."

But he said there's no way he would ever live anywhere else, despite having homes in Miami and London.

"No, I love Dublin, I love Ireland. I only want to ever work with Irish people to be honest. If you get a good Irish artist, then there's nobody better to work with."

This year it's a case of 'Simon who?' as the new panel of judges take centre stage on the talent contest.

And showing Kelly Rowland, Gary Barlow and Tulisa Contostavlos the ropes is Louis, who is relishing the new format.

"It's absolutely brilliant, there's a whole new energy to it and everybody's working really hard.

"The competition's really starting now," he said.

Last weekend saw him having to send home soldier Jonjo Kerr from the 'Overs' category -- and he said it was no easy decision.

"It was tough for everybody and I only made up my mind before the show.

"I had to keep Sami in, and I knew Johnny was a keeper from the reaction he got in the studio. It was amazing, while Kitty's performance was incredible. But it wasn't easy sending him home," he said.

"My acts are so different from anyone else's. They bring the entertainment value to the show. I don't know who's going to be in the bottom three next week. I could have somebody there but I can't call it."

He also revealed how he has formed a particular bond with N-Dubz star Tulisa, whose mum hails from Churchtown.

"I love her, she's so nice and so honest. I met her boyfriend Fazer for the first time this weekend and he's great. She's the one I get on best with this year,".

Louis went on to say how he reckons Kelly's act, our own Janet Devlin, could be the one to beat.

"She's had an amazing couple of weeks. If she can keep this up, she can do very well. I thought she was incredible this weekend and I loved her new look. She's a really nice quiet kid," he said.

mfinn@herald.ie