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If Melanie wins, her first interview is . . . her cousin?

Could the next winner of X Factor give her first interview to 2fm's DJ Colm Hayes?

The Diary can reveal Irish contestant Melanie McCabe, one of two Irish finalists in the last 16, is his second cousin.

Millions saw the 17-year-old wow the judges last weekend singing Rihanna's 'Only Girl (In The World)'.

"We knew Melanie had entered X Factor this year but I couldn't say anything until she appeared on screen," Colm told me this week.

"It's funny, her mum Clare has been telling me for years that one day I'd be playing Melanie's records on the radio but X Factor was always her dream."

So much so that in 2008, aged just 14, Melanie auditioned for Simon Cowell as a shy teenager at Manchester auditions but failed to make it to the bootcamp stages, because judge Cheryl Cole believed she was too young.

"So Melanie spent the last few years putting the work in, getting singing lessons and entering all sorts of talent contests.

"This could be her year and she's promised me the first interview if she wins."

Judge Louis Walsh is among those impressed describing all the Irish finalists in X Factor this year as being "pure talent with great voices".

"Along with their talent, our Irish X Factor singers have charm and personality. I think we'll be doing very well this year," said Louis, calling from his holiday home in Miami.

The 16 finalists will be revealed over two X Factor shows on October 1/2 featuring the judges' homes.

All the singers will then perform on the first live show on Saturday, October 8.

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