Granny jets in as Niall goes for glory in 'X Factor' final
A 17-year-old singer is being hailed as the best thing to come out of Mullingar since Joe Dolan.
Teen star Niall Horan will perform with his group One Direction in front of millions of TV viewers in 'The X Factor' final tonight. He will be joined onstage by Robbie Williams.
The Take That star will be performing his hit 'She's The One' with the band.
"This is the song One Direction will be hoping to win 'The X Factor'," a show source told the Irish Independent.
"To have Robbie Williams on-stage lending a hand is an incredible coup. But not only do they have the backing of Robbie, they will also have his showmanship for their biggest performance."
But it is in the crucial votes, which decide the 'X Factor' winner, where One Direction could enjoy the biggest boost from the Williams' endorsement.
Hundreds and thousands of Take That and Robbie Williams fans may end up texting and voting for One Direction.
Meanwhile, Niall's 80-year-old granny boarded an early morning flight today to make it to the ITV studios in time for his performance.
Margaret Nolan has been a huge 'X Factor' fan ever since she watched the first show in 2004 while recovering from a hip operation.
But she never imagined she'd see her grandson perform for millions of viewers -- never mind his rise to become the biggest celebrity to come out of the midlands since Joe Dolan.
One Direction singer Niall hopes his group will become the first ever boyband to win 'The X Factor'. He told his fans on Twitter that he was "soo excited" about the final.
Yesterday, Margaret, a grandmother of 12, from Rochfortbridge, Co Westmeath, was getting glammed up ahead of tonight's showdown.
"It's brilliant, there's just so much excitement," she said. "He was always a great singer. Even in the car, when his mum would put on a tape, he'd sing along. He knew when to come in with the music, he's a natural."
Margaret said she hadn't yet met Simon Cowell but she hoped to talk to the pop guru this weekend.
Niall's mother Maura said she was "thrilled, nervous and excited" yesterday. She praised her son's attitude and independence. "I'm not just saying it because I'm his mother but Niall is the greatest little lad.
"His brother (Greg, 22) talked to him this morning. There's not a bother on him. Niall won't let nerves set in. He'll be laughing and joking."
Maura, who separated from Niall's dad, Bobby Horan, some years ago, said their son was a "very independent little lad".
"He's able to do his own washing and cooking. He said to me before he moved into the 'X Factor' house, 'Mam, I'll be able to make them shepherd's pie'."
She praised Cowell for "looking after" the youngster. "Niall looks up to him, he thinks Simon's lovely."
Niall's dad, Bobby Horan, has been going to the UK for the live shows each weekend with Maura and her new husband Chris Gallagher, and Greg.
"Maura had a new life so I hadn't seen that much of her other than picking up in Niall in the last few years. What's great about 'X Factor' is that the family is reunited to support Niall," said Bobby.
Nearby, in St Kenny's national school, deputy principal Ann Caulfield said Niall got his "big break" as 'Oliver' in the primary school's musical. "Everyone here and in Colaiste Mhuire (CBS in Mullingar) is so proud of him. We'll all be voting for him," she said.