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Louis Walsh stands in for Cowell on The X Factor USA

Louis Walsh in Manchester yesterday before he boarded Simon Cowell's private jet for Kansas. Photo: Press Association

Louis Walsh is filling in for Simon Cowell on The X Factor USA today. Cowell is in bed suffering from bronchitis so he flew his Irish pal over to Kansas City to cover for him, according to The Sun.

Walsh was in Manchester yesterday at auditions for the UK show with fellow judges Gary Barlow, Mel B and Tulisa Contostavlos when he was called by Cowell. An X Factor insider told The Sun:

Simon said it was an emergency and Louis was the man for the job. He said he'd sorted out a private jet for him and he was to get on it as soon as he finished up in Manchester

He greased the wheels with the US bosses, telling them that Louis was the man who knew more about The X Factor than any other judge

Louis Walsh will join singers Britney Spears and Demi Lovato on the judging panel. Credit: Reuters / Mario Anzuoni

Louis will stand in today and tomorrow, sitting alongside the US show's judges Britney Spears, Demi Lovato and LA Reid.

This is the second time Louis has stood in for Simon: he previously took his place at the Birmingham auditions of Britian's Got Talent in 2010.

Simon hopes to be well enough to attend the next set of audition in San Francisco on June 16.

Meanwhile back in the UK, tensions between Walsh and X Factor judge Gary Barlow continue to grow.

They argued over an 18-year-old singer who Gary loved and Louis thought was rubbish. Gary Barlow is reported to have said:

Not only does Louis not know how to work an audience, he doesn’t know how to sport a decent singer when her hears one

Barlow did appear to enjoy working with new judge Mel B. He tweeted this cosy picture of the pair, saying they were "two peas in a pod."

Gary Barlow with fellow X Factor judge and former Spice Girl Mel B. Credit: Twitter: @GBarlowOfficial