Lancashire X-Factor star Paul Akister has made his American debut after being hand picked to open up a top music awards ceremony.
The soul singer, who featured on the hit ITV show in 2014, opened the Georgia Entertainment Gala in the city of Atlanta with a rendition of ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ by Sam Cooke last week.
The black tie event, attended by 1,800 guests, was held at the Georgia World Congress-Sidney Marcus Auditorium in Atlanta.
The annual gala honours the film and TV stars of Georgia and raises money for charity.
Afterwards Lancaster-born Paul tweeted that he “loved every minute” of the gig and his performance was raved about on social media.
And after returning home to the UK, the jet-setting star took to Instagram to profess his love for the Atlanta and the States on Valentine’s Day.
He posted a picture of a heart with the words: “My feelings for Atlanta!! If I could find a bigger heart I would.”
The gala was hosted by American actor Pooch Hall, who stars in US comedy-drama series ‘The Game’, and Valery Ortiz from VH1’s ‘Hit the Floor’.
Other performers on the bill included American Idol star LaToya London and The Voice USA contestant Brooke Adee.
The gala raised $6,000 for Atlanta Children’s Shelter and Angels Among Us Pet Rescue.
The previous night, Paul performed his first ever gig in the States at the swish Red Martini club in Atlanta. He also recorded in an Atlanta studio while on his trip to the Georgia city.
The soul singer, who recieved a massive reception when he turned on his home city’s Christmas lights in December, flew out to America with his friend and manager Neil Spooner.
Fitness trainer Neil helped Paul shed three-and-a-half stones for his appearance on ITV talent show The X Factor in 2014, when he finished ninth and was mentored by former Spice Girl Mel B.
My feelings for Atlanta!! If I could find a bigger heart I would.