Lancaster’s X Factor star is set to return to the show for this weekend’s final at Wembley Arena.
But Paul Akister will still wonder what might have been as he watches Andrea Faustini, Ben Haenow and Fleur East battle for the TV talent crown.
The city soul man is expected to join his fellow finalists on stage this weekend to sing as part of the two-night grand finale.
And whoever takes the prize of a recording contract and a shot at the Christmas number one, Paul’s elimination from the show on November 9 will be remembered as the most controversial moment of the series.
Despite being kicked off the show in Week Five creating a national outcry, there are no sour grapes for Paul, who can’t wait to catch up with his fellow finalists.
He’s also been watching the show every chance he gets.
“I always keep up to date with The X Factor,” he told the Guardian at the recent Christmas lights switch-on in Lancaster, where he performed to his home town crowd.
“I love the guys. Andrea is so sweet. For me, he’s the best.”
Paul is still enjoying the celebrity lifestyle and has been travelling all over the country.
“It’s been Brighton, Liverpool, London, Glasgow, London, then back home, then London, Ireland, Kings Lynn, Glasgow, just going back and forth and flying everywhere. It’s amazing, I’m loving it. I have a tour manager who takes me everywhere and makes sure I’m OK. He does a great job and I couldn’t do this without him.
“I just sit on my chair now and have a management company that chucks me gigs.”
Last week Paul enjoyed a red carpet moment when he went to see Michael Buble in concert in Birmingham with fellow finalists Jay James and Lola Saunders. He also hit Oxford Street in London for a spot of Christmas shopping with James, who beat him in The X Factor sing-off but was then himself eliminated the following week.
He’s also enjoyed some relaxing time at home with family and friends and can often be seen out and about in Lancaster posing for photos with fans or having a drink in his favourite pubs.