Good night's sleep puts our Mary back on winning form

Maeve Galvin

SLEEP will be the key to Ireland's X Factor hopeful Mary Byrne winning the talent show, according to a family member.

MaBy (51) survived yet another round as competition for the top prize heated up this weekend. After struggling last week with her arthritis and back trouble, Mary came back with a performance of Can You Feel The Love Tonight? on the Elton John-themed episode, which was praised by all of the judges on Saturday night.

Tesco worker Mary is now back on form after convincing show bosses to allow her to move out of the X Factor house and into a hotel. "She just wasn't sleeping well in that house," explained Paul Byrne (21), who is Mary's cousin.

"She was only getting about three or four hours sleep each night because of the noise and everything happening in that house. That was holding her back but now there is no stopping her."

Mary says her turn in fortunes was helped along by the presence of 24-year-old daughter Debbie. Mary has been separated from her only child for the past six weeks. Brave Debbie overcame her terrible fear of flying -- which was brought on by her being on a plane on the day of the 9/11 attacks in 2001 -- to be with her mother in London at this week's show.

Shy Debbie spoke after the show on the Xtra Factor. "It was amazing hearing the audience chant her name," she told host Konnie Huq.

"Debbie being there is absolutely brilliant," said Paul Byrne, whose brother is visiting Mary this week. "The only thing is they have not really seen each other or done much together because Mary is so busy in rehearsals."

Meanwhile, 'Mary Mania' shows no sign of waning in the singer's local town of Ballyfermot. She has even become a tourist attraction.

Dave Jones (25), a physiotherapist from Blanchardstown, told the Herald that he is now coming to Ballyfermot to watch the X Factor results every week.

"I came here for the bank holiday weekend just to see what was happening and now I have been back every Sunday for the past four weeks. It's really brilliant craic. I usually hate X Factor but this year I have been hooked. What I love about Mary is that she is not contemporary. She is a real niche market." he said.