Simon Cowell 'X Factor' sensation Dublin single mother Mary Byrne, (50), has revealed her battle with the bulge has gone on for decades

"I had Debbie my daughter at 27 and I started comfort-eating after she was born," the superrmarket check out clerk said.

"It was probably due to my feelings of rejection after Debbie's dad and I split up. Some people lose weight during stressful times -- I just gained it."

"I'd tell myself 'You are stupid, you are nothing. You are thick'. I hated what I saw and I hated who I was," she recalls.

"Looking back, it was terrible. My confidence was so low because of the weight and it was a vicious cycle. I would then turn to food and comfort eat -- and the problem would just get worse. I thought I was worthless, I really did."

"That's why it's so crazy to think I'm up there at The X Factor now. Back then, I couldn't even look at myself in the mirror, now 13 million people are watching me every week," she laughed. "It's incredible."

Tt She has been tipped by Irish judge Louis Walsh to win the coveted title. "This girl is going to do so well in this competition. She's going to get a record deal, she's going to fulfil all her dreams, and she's great. She's 50, she's got soul, she's Irish. She ticks all the boxes for me. And she can really, really sing."

. "For Mary, it wasn't about tricks and make-up and hair and dancers and things. Just one thing -- her voice.'