Rylan: I’m only on Xtra Factor because of Louis Walsh

“Louis is my biggest champion,” says Rylan who jokes he didn’t get the ITV2 gig because Simon Cowell is a big fan of Big Brother or This Morning…

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Rylan Clark-Neal says Louis Walsh is the only reason he’s a presenter on The Xtra Factor Live this year, saying the returning judge is his “biggest champion”.

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“I’m only here because of Louis,” Rylan told RadioTimes.com as we put it to him that Louis Walsh appears to be running the show this year, credited with driving the return of judges Sharon Osbourne and Nicole Scherzinger, deciding on some of the live show themes and being vocal in his want of Rita Ora off the panel.

“The X Factor is nothing without Louis Walsh,” Rylan said, with his new co-host Matt Edmondson concurring: “It’s nothing without Louis – and he is a big Rylan fan.”

As far as Rylan’s concerned he’s not been put on the show because show boss Simon Cowell’s been keeping an eye on his career. 

“I’ve not really working with Simon. He wasn’t on my year [Rylan was a contestant in 2012 when Gary Barlow led the panel] and I doubt that Simon watches Big Brother’s Bit on the Side or This Morning – I can neither confirm nor deny the rumours – but Louis is like my biggest champion.

“I’ve been friends with Louis since day one on the show. I’ve always been friendly with Louis. It’s Louis saying [adopts accent]: ‘What are you doing? You need to get this boy on.’ And that was it. So yeah, I owe Louis a Guinness or two.”

It certainly seems like Mr Walsh is aware of this owing debt, the judge making a beeline for the new spin-off host on his first day.

“Louis just stormed in like a bull in a china shop, he stomped up these stairs in my little dressing room and he went: “You f***ing owe me! You f***ing owe me. And I was like, ‘Alright!’ Then he was like, ‘How you been?’ then just gossiping. Never tell Louis Walsh a secret…” 

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The Xtra Factor Live starts on ITV2 at 9.30pm on Saturday 27th August and 9pm on Sunday 28th August