Credit: Getty Images

Whether you’re already getting CeCe Frey’s leopard-print facepaint (no longer — RIP!) permanently tattooed on your mug in hopes of sounding like her, or you’re already breaking in your ten-gallon hat a la Tate Stevens, chances are you already have some favorites on this season of The X Factor.

So, who does Simon Cowell think will take home the five million dollar prize? Simon told us on a press call that the strongest contestants are definitely in the groups. “They’re a million times better than last year,” he says of the category he’s mentoring (natch). “Some of them will have big futures outside of the show. One group in particular [stands out].”

Credit: FOX Photo: LYLAS

Who is he talking about? LYLAS. The girl group he put together is already making a buzz on the internet. Simon says of the fivesome, “these girls have done really well and have become popular over the last couple weeks.” He looks forward to seeing them perform for the first time on Halloween.

Although he likes Sister C a lot, he mentions that the girl group has caused him some difficulty, as they “come across as arrogant in interviews, even though they’re not.” While he recognizes that they’re talented, the judge also says that “if they’re not popular,” they’re going to struggle.

What about competition from the teams he’s not mentoring? Simon said he’s most worried about Britney Spears’s Teens because they’re very popular, and, “in a way, everyone wanted them.” Although he’s feeling confident about his team, he recognizes that “two of three of the kids are super talented.”

In Demi Lovato’s group, he says that Jennel Garcia is a “dark horse” and “has a shot” at overtaking his picks. But sorry L.A. Reid, Simon says the Over 25s have “no chance” at beating the rest.

In fact, Simon seemed more worried about someone who was cut in that category than any one of the final four. He said Jeffrey Gutt “would have been better than some of the older contestants” who made it through Boot Camp.

Too bad for Jeffrey, Simon also said there will not be a 17th contestant this year.

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