Friends and family of Lancaster’s X Factor hero are jubilant after he got through the first week of live shows.
Eight of Paul Akister’s nearest and dearest went down to Wembley to support him on Saturday and Sunday night as he sang his heart out on the ITV talent show.
They included his friend Mike Zorab, who said the weekend was “absolutely amazing”.
Mike was joined by Paul’s mum Bev, dad Dave, sister Charlotte, cousin Emma Kitching, personal trainer Neil Spooner and friends Thomas Gammon and Louise Clague, who all cheered Paul on from the studio audience.
Wearing their #TeamPaul T-shirts, they hugged each other with relief when the singing sensation found out he’d received enough public votes to get through to next week.
Mike and the rest of the entourage then got to go backstage at the Fountain Studios and mix with celebrities at the afterparty including Niall Horan from One Direction.
They also met the other X Factor finalists.
Mike, manager of the Queens nightclub in Morecambe, said: “Words can’t describe how amazing it was.
“We got to sit right behind Simon Cowell on the Sunday night, so close that we could almost touch him!”
Paul opened Saturday night’s show, singing a version of Ella Henderson’s ‘Ghost’.
When Mike saw Paul afterwards, he said his mate was “absolutely blown away, he was just so happy.”
“Normally he comes off stage and says he didn’t think it went well. He’s had a cold this week too. But he just nailed it. He said it couldn’t have gone better.
“Paul couldn’t stop smiling. You can tell he’s doing what he loves to do.”
Two acts were eliminated on Sunday night’s results show, Blonde Electra and Overload Generation.
The 14 remaining contestants move on to next weekend when the theme is the 1980s.
Follow Paul Akister on The X Factor on our websites and on our twitter pages @guardiandigital and @the_visitor using the hashtag #teampaul.
You can download The X Factor app to vote for Paul each week for free through the Apple app store.
You can also download his Saturday night performance of ‘Ghost’ from iTunes.