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Omagh's where the heart is for homecoming queen Janet

X FACTOR hopeful Janet Devlin delighted thousands of fans in her hometown of Omagh last night as she took a break from her busy rehearsals to thank her supporters.

The singer jetted into Ireland for less than 24 hours to turn on Omagh's Christmas lights.

Despite performing in front of millions every week, the 17-year-old admitted to being just as nervous on stage in front of the locals and has said she will never get used to being a celebrity in her hometown.

Speaking exclusively to the Herald ahead of her appearance, the schoolgirl admitted to having the jitters.

"I am nervous about it, but I'm wearing my lucky Dr Marten boots," Janet revealed, as she signed autographs for locals.

"It's great to be home and to see all the support is amazing," she added.

Despite the pouring rain, up to 10,000 fans donned their raincoats and wellies to get a glimpse of the budding star.

Janet, who braved the wet conditions in just a T-shirt and jeans, thanked her cheering supporters: "I'm so thankful for everyone who has been voting for me, I don't think people know how much it means to me to get through every single week and to get the opportunity to even just to sing the songs on a Saturday night, it means to much to me. It's fantastic to see this many people here."

When asked what she will be doing before she takes to the stage during this weekend's quarter final, the flame-haired beauty said: "It's not very relaxing before you go on stage."

Janet will compete for a place in the last four finalists on Saturday night and for the first time will perform two songs during the live rounds.

"I chose both songs that I'm singing this weekend, they're two songs that I really enjoy," she said.



PROUD

Former X Factor finalist in 2008 Eoghan Quigg wished the singer all the best and dished out some advice for the hopeful: "She just needs to be herself, what she's doing so far is unbelievable and I've no doubt she'll go all the way to the final.

"Hopefully she can do something that I couldn't, we're so glad someone else Irish has gone and done it -- we've been voting for her every week."

Mayor of Omagh, Frankie Donnelly, added it was fantastic to see so many turn up to cheer on the talented singer.

"It's great that everyone can come out and show Janet how much we're proud of her. We wanted to let her know much we support her, we wanted to recognise her achievement."

Mr Donnelly's children, Malachy (5) and Derbhla (6), who are massive X Factor fans, had the honour of switching on the lights with Janet.

While it was expected that Janet would be accompanied by her mentor Kelly Rowland, she arrived instead with an X Factor crew, who filmed shots of the songstress as part of her homecoming.

Meanwhile, the Tyrone native's male peers welcomed the star back home and admit she has become a huge hit since making it on the X Factor.

According to pals, Janet has been drawing a lot of attention from the boys at Drumragh Integrated College thanks to her transformation on the competition.

Pal Neil Mellon (17) said he can't get over how different the redhead looks.

He said: "She's looking very well, she's looking better. We're all noticing her more now and in the pictures around the school she looks great, but we never see her anymore."

Neil said the 640 pupils at the secondary school have been rallying support for the budding star: "She gives off such a good impression. The atmosphere around the place has been amazing, we're definitely going to go out on the town if she wins," he added.

labutler@herald.ie


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