Mary Byrne spills the beans on her rise from Tesco checkouts to the X Factor finals. Here’s what she told TNT.

Did the best person win the X Factor last year?
I would have loved for Rebecca to win because I’m friends with her, but Matt [Cardle] is a worthy winner – he has a great voice. I said to Matt, when he sang that song The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face: “[You’re] the winner of the X Factor.” And he said: “Don’t be silly.” But on the night he won he actually remembered me saying it.

What was it like living in the X Factor house with all those whippersnappers?
I lived in a kibbutz in Israel for a year many years ago, so missing my daughter was the only problem I had. I got on well with everybody and the kids showed me nothing but the height of respect. All the stories that were wrote that “all the kids are keeping Mary up banging this and that” – there was no such thing going on.

But you did put Cher Lloyd in her place for her bullying tendencies, correct?

The story of her bullying me wasn’t true. But when she had a bit of a temper I’d have a talk with her – I was more like a mum. But the kids were fine, most of them were more mature than most teenagers.

So no romance to report?

There was nothing going on that I knew about, maybe a little bit of kissing but I never got any of it except from Harry [Styles, One Direction]. Harry used to kiss me on the cheek every morning. Then he mooned me.

He mooned you?
Yes, he did it all the time! He does it now – he’s mad.

Did you complain the show was rigged when you went out rather than Cher, and did Simon Cowell apologise for it like the press reported?
No, his exact words were, “Sorry to see you go but you’ll have your album” and he’s stuck to his word on that but he wasn’t saying: “We have to let you go.”

Did he say: “You’re going to be a multi-millionaire within a year”?
No, he didn’t say that either.

Was anything published in the press about you true?
I don’t read the papers because I just know there’s going to be stuff in there that I didn’t say.

What about you and Wagner going out on a date, more lies?
That’s more lies, sweetheart. We’re good friends but we’ve never had a relationship and we don’t fancy each other at all.

You’re great at singing the big belters on your debut album Mine & Yours. What do you look for in a song?

I can’t sing a song unless I can feel it and live it. They don’t have to be belters but they have to be passionate.

You launched the album on the QVC shopping station, just like Susan Boyle and look where she is now …
If I had half or even a quarter of a chance of being as good as Susan Boyle, I’d be a happy lady.

And a wealthy one. What will you splurge your dosh on?

The X Factor house had a beautiful washing machine and tumble dryer, I said to myself: “When I get a few bob I’m going to buy brand new ones of those.”

You Don’t Say…

What’s you’re biggest phobia?
Heights. I was taken to the ninth floor of hotel in Birmingham and the windows came from the floor up. It was quite scary.

Tell us your guilty pleasure
Sexy underwear. I just like lacy stuff and all-in-ones. Nobody sees them, I just like them for myself!

Name your favourite karaoke tune.
Tina Turner’s Simply The Best and Never, Never, Never by Shirley Bassey.


» Mary Byrne’s debut album Mine & Yours  is out on March 28 through Sony.