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Plucky Louis back in the X Factor hot seat after his nightmare ordeal

X FACTOR judge Louis Walsh shone as the show returned -- but is still battling the demons created by recent slurs against him.

The Mayo music mogul says he has lost a large amount of weight and still cannot sleep since he was accused by a 24-year-old man of assaulting him in a Dublin nightclub.

Louis appeared on the first episode of the new X Factor series on Saturday night alongside new judges Gary Barlow, Kelly Rowland and Tulisa Contostavlos.

Louis says his life has irrevocably changed since the accusations emerged in June of this year.

"None of my clothes fit me, and I didn't get to sleep until around 3.30 this morning, despite the fact that I'd taken a sleeping pill," he said.

"It's had the worst effect of anything in my life. I haven't got over it. I have flashbacks in the middle of the night thinking about what could have happened if the police hadn't cleared me after a few days."

He said the night before the false allegation was published in a UK newspaper was the worst of his life.

"I knew I was going to be in the paper the next day and I thought, 'How am I going to do this? This is the end of my life. I might as well take a whole bottle of pills'."

Louis, who was a regular attendee of music shows, says he's developed a phobia of going out.

"I haven't been to any gigs ... I've developed a fear of nightclubs and people coming up to me."

Irish songbird Janet Devlin emerged as a firm favourite to win the show following a brilliant rendition of Elton John's Your Song.

Janet (16) from Tyrone is so keen on making a success of her music that she gets up at 6am every day to practice.

Her dad Aquinas said: "Singing is Janet's life. She is a very level-headed young girl and we will help her to keep her feet on the ground."

Gary Barlow gave Janet a standing ovation after her performance, while Kelly told her she was "in a trance" listening to her voice.

But the shy teen revealed she's glad Simon Cowell is no longer on the show.

She said: "I was happy Simon wasn't there because I thought he'd hate me!

"Simon always just tells it straight, whether he likes it or not.

"But Gary was worse in terms of being honest, although thankfully he was good to me."