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Hats off to our Ben for cheeky Xtra Factor stunt

HE failed to impress the X Factor judges with his cheeky hat-raising routine but our own Ben Dillon gave the audience something to cheer about.

Ben wasn't what Louis Walsh and co were looking for, but he says the reaction in his home town has been phenomenal.

Viewers of the Xtra Factor would have seen the Meath native perform a quirky version of Robbie William's Angels in Liverpool last weekend.

He even rounded it off by cheekily dropping his hat on to Take That star Gary Barlow's head.

And while he didn't get the thumbs-up needed to make bootcamp, Ben said: "I just thought it would be a bit of craic and there's plenty of people saying 'fair play' and all that kinda thing."

The 22-year-old admitted: "I needed the crowd on my side because, well, to be honest, I'm not the greatest singer."

Getting everybody involved, Ben sauntered over to the celebrity judges' table to pull a stunt on the new head judge, before holding out his microphone to the crowd to sing along to the hit track.

"Gary said my vocals weren't up to scratch but I had the whole crowd singing and it was an amazing feeling," he added.

While Ben admitted he was very nervous about taking the stage in front of 3,000 spectators at the Echo Arena, he told Xtra Factor hosts Olly Murs and Caroline Flack that he had planned every step of his audition and visualised how it would pan out.

The locals in Kells have even started cheering the new town celebrity.

"We went in to the Arches in Kells and they had on the big screen and people were taking pictures of me and hugging me -- it was hilarious," he said.