'Nicole works so much harder than Cheryl': Louis Walsh reignites explosive feud with the singer as he claims last year's X Factor was 's**t'

His cheeky but cutting one-liners have added fuel to his long-running feud with Cheryl.

And Louis Walsh took yet another swipe at the pregnant singer, 33, as he claimed Nicole Scherzinger 'works so much harder' than she did as an X Factor judge.

The Irishman, 64, who returned to the ITV show's panel this year, added that last year's X Factor was 's**' in a scathing interview with Heat magazine.

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Cheeky: Louis Walsh took yet another swipe at the pregnant singer, 33, as he claimed Nicole Scherzinger 'works so much harder' than she did as an X Factor judge

When asked his verdict on Cheryl as a judge on X Factor, he said: 'I think Nicole's better! I think she works so much harder. She really mentors the acts.'

Louis, who left The X Factor last year after 11 years to be replaced by radio DJ Nick Grimshaw, made his triumphant return in 2016.

Speaking about last year's show, he declared: 'When I watched last year's show I though it was s**t. So I thought, 'I'm glad I'm not on that'.'

He added that this year's judges are 'really good friends', not just 'showbusiness friends', and have been going out together every week - adding that he hopes the panel stays the same next year. 

Shock claim: When asked his verdict on Cheryl as a judge on X Factor, he said: 'I think Nicole's better! I think she works so much harder. She really mentors the acts'

Controversial: The Irishman, 64, who returned to the ITV show's panel this year, added that last year's X Factor was 's**' in a scathing interview with Heat magazine

His remarks about Nicole's work ethic may ring true as her act, Bromley-born waiter Matt Terry was announced the show's winner on Sunday.

Comparing Nicole to Cheryl back in August, he told The Mirror: 'I'll tell you what she's got. 

'Nicole has got "it" - whatever that is, she's got it. She's got it all. She can sing, she can dance, she can act.'

He added: 'Nicole works really, really hard and she takes it so seriously. There is nobody better than Nicole. Nobody.'

Victorious: Louis' remarks about Nicole's work ethic may ring true as her act, Bromley-born waiter Matt Terry was announced as the show's winner on Sunday

The whole gang: He added that this year's judges are 'really good friends', not just 'showbusiness friends', and have been going out together every week

And Louis was busy showing off his feisty side again last week as he swore at a reporter. 

He shot down a reporter with a four-letter expletive when asked what he'd do if Simon Cowell asked Cheryl to return to the judging panel, at a photocall ahead of the final.

Riled, the Irishman responded: 'Well Simon wouldn't invite Cheryl back because we have Nicole. We have Nicole and Sharon, we don't need another girl. 

'F**k off!': Louis Walsh shot down a reporter with a four-letter expletive when asked what he'd do if Simon asked Cheryl to return to the judging panel, at an X Factor photocall ahead of this weekend's final

'So go and f**k off now!' 

He then lent forward and playfully slapped at the reporter, before adding: 'No silly questions, seriously. It's not about Cheryl. Don't be stupid, man.' 

The 5AM boys found the incident hilarious, laughing as Louis had his outburst.

Louis was also dismissive when asked about Spice Girls offshoot GEM pulling out of a surprise collaboration with the boys in the final.

He said: 'It's not about The Spice Girls, it's about Five After Midnight... so stop talking about them.' 

Straight-talking: Riled, the Irishman responded: 'Well Simon wouldn't invite Cheryl back because we have Nicole. We have Nicole and Sharon, we don't need another girl'

Hitting out: He then lent forward and playfully slapped at the reporter

Letting loose: Louis has shown his feisty side on this series of X Factor

Laughing out loud: The 5AM boys found the incident hilarious, laughing as Louis had his outburst

Both Louis and Dermot admitted to MailOnline that they have not yet seen or congratulated Cheryl since the debut of her pregnancy bump.

Speaking at the photocall for the final at Wembley Arena, the judge claimed he was 'not really excited' about it as he has not seen her for so long, while the host admitted he will not congratulate her until 'it's official'. 

The Promise This singer was a judge on the ITV singing competition for four years in total - working alongside Louis and Dermot in 2008-10 and again in 2014.

At the photo call on Thursday, the duo remained coy about the rumours of her pregnancy with boyfriend Liam Payne, but both admitted that they had not seen her to congratulate her on the news. 

Dermot, 43, revealed that he did fully intend to pass his best wishes on to the brunette beauty, but that he was waiting for a conclusive announcement.

Remaining coy: X Factor host Dermot and judge Louis remained tight-lipped about former co-star Cheryl's pregnancy

The big debut: The pair admitted they had not seen Cheryl (L) since debuting her baby bump to pass on their well wishes

Gentleman: Dermot, 43, revealed that he did fully intend to pass his best wishes on to the brunette beauty, but that he was waiting for a conclusive announcement

New beginnings: However former fellow judge Louis, 64, remained more blasé, admitting he had not seen her due to his work with new judges Nicole Scherzinger and Sharon Osbourne

Confirmation? Cheryl set tongues wagging when she showcased a huge baby bump at the St James' Christmas Carol Concert in London earlier this month

Cheryl is thought to be expecting a baby with One Direction's Liam Payne, who is ten years her junior.

The singer sparked rumours the pair were expecting earlier this year when she first debuted a fuller figure - before displaying a huge baby bump at St James' Christmas Carol Concert in London earlier this month. 

With her blossoming appearance all by confirming her much-speculated pregnancy, The Sun's Dan Wootton took to Lorraine later that week to reveal the reason Cheryl has maintained her silence on the matter.

Kicking things off: The singer first sparked rumours she was expecting earlier this year when she debuted a fuller figure at a L'Oreal event in Paris

He told the show host: 'Cheryl's told close friends and family. I think everyone knows the battles she's gone through in her personal life, the fact she so desperately wanted this for so many years, and it didn't come. 

'She's totally ecstatic, happy... apparently she's been very open with friends and family.'

Further highlighting that the singing duo's relationship is only going from strength to strength, it was then reported that Liam was thinking about popping the question after the new arrival.

Loved-up: Dan Wootton then added fuel to the fire by telling Lorraine Kelly: 'She's totally ecstatic, happy... apparently she's been very open with friends and family'

Doing it for the girls: New judge Sharon Osbourne was also present at the photo call with her remaining contestant Saara Aalto from Finland

Fighting to the finish: Glamorous Nicole Scherzinger posed up a storm beside her boy Matt Terry, who won the show last year 

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