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It's the final showdown as our Niall chases his X Factor dream

NIALL Horan's family are still coming to terms with the teen's newfound fame.

The Mullingar native is competing in tomorrow night's X Factor final with his band One Direction, who have become the latest heartthrobs on the music scene.

And Niall's father Bobby has said how "surreal" it was to see his 17-year-old son as a new star.

As part of The X Factor 'homecoming' filming ahead of the final this weekend, One Direction gave a free concert in singer Liam Payne's hometown of Wolverhampton for 4,000 over-zealous fans.

Dozens of fans were injured as they rushed to the stage, and Bobby, who was in the audience with the rest of the family, said that it was strange to see the crowds turning out for his son.



IDOLS

Speaking to the Herald, he said: "I believe they issued 4,000 tickets. People actually slept outside to get tickets on the first night, it's hard to believe that in sub zero temperatures.

"It's very hard to believe, but I guess there has been a build up to it in the last few weeks. You see it in front of the studio, there are tons of people waiting in the cold to see them. It's surreal to see so many people."

The proud father said that Niall was "living his dream" and hoped to follow in his footsteps of his idols, Westlife.

"It's been a fantastic journey. This has been huge for Niall and he brought us on his coattails, and for maybe a long career ahead.

"Maybe they could be like Westlife or Take That, they're young enough and very enthusiastic. And they're talented, no doubt," he said.

Although Niall's hectic work schedule means he hasn't been able to visit home in recent weeks, Bobby hopes his talented son will be able to make it back before Christmas.

"Hopefully we'll have an X Factor champion and they'll be the first group to win," he said.

The X Factor's four finalists will be reduced to three tonight as the competition enters its final weekend.

One act will be eliminated following a solo performance and a duet with a celebrity.

Robbie Williams will perform with One Direction, while Rihanna will sing alongside Matt Cardle.

Cher Lloyd will be joined by Black Eyed Peas star will.i.am and Rebecca Ferguson will be teamed up with Christina Aguilera.

Each act will be backed up by a star rallying the troops in their home towns. One Direction, will be supported by Michelle Keegan, who plays Tina McIntyre in Coronation Street, in Manchester.

A second act will be eliminated early in the Sunday show before one of the remaining two is declared the winner later in the evening.

One Direction's mentor Simon Cowell has said he "genuinely" wants the band to win but admitted if he was a betting man, his money would be on Cardle.

The bookmakers seem to agree, with Betfair putting Matt at evens to win ahead of Rebecca at 3-1 and One Direction at 4-1. Cher is the 43-1 outsider.

cmcbride@herald.ie


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