SINGER Mary Byrne will make an X Factor return on the upcoming series as a mentor to an aspiring Dublin girl.
The former Tesco worker was kissed and hugged by judges when she turned up for the first auditions of the new season in Glasgow.
However, the 52-year-old, who was a finalist in the 2010 series, wasn't singing for judges Nicole Scherzinger, Gary Barlow, Louis Walsh and Sharon Osbourne, this time around.
Instead, the mother-of-one was acting as mentor for Kayleigh Cullinan (18), who was partially blinded in a vicious attack three years ago, and was in Scotland fulfilling a life-long dream to appear on the ITV series.
"Mary is a huge supporter of Kayleigh and went over to support her though the auditions. She has become her rock," said a source.
The Perrystown girl was battling a bad cold at the auditions and, whatever the outcome, will spend July and August opening for Mary Byrne on her upcoming Irish tour, including a major date in the INEC Killarney on August 23.
Kayleigh lost 90pc of the sight in one eye after her retina became detached when she was kicked, beaten and bitten by another girl close to her home in Perry-stown, Dublin while walking with a friend in late 2010.
A gang of young people followed the two girls, shouting taunts and abuse. One leapt on Kayleigh, and she was punched, bitten and spat on.
She suffered permanent damage to one eye and had to undergo a series of operations at Dublin's Eye and Ear Hospital.
However, she is now channelling all her energies into becoming a professional singer and has sang on Miriam Callaghan's chat show.
Her tour with Mary Byrne kicks off in the Ardboyne Hotel, Navan, on June 15.