X Factor fans were furious after a Lancaster singer was eliminated from the hit ITV talent show.
Fans of Paul Akister took to social media to support him after he failed to make the live finals.
Take That star and show judge Gary Barlow said Paul had the best voice in the competition. But his fellow judge, music manager Louis Walsh, ended the 24-year-old’s dream of winning a recording contract and a chance at the Christmas number one on Saturday night’s episode, watched by 8.5m viewers.
Shy Paul was left in tears as Walsh told him he would be going home, despite a flawless rendition of Paolo Nutin’s ‘Last Request’ in front of Walsh and fellow panellists Shane Filan, Nicole Appleton and Sinitta.
Kelli Young, singer with pop group Liberty X, was amongst thousands who tweeted their disgust at Louis’ decision.
“Very upset Paul Akister didn’t get through. Not sure I can watch any more. Does talent mean nothing on this show? Fuming!!!”
Walsh said: “I changed my mind constantly about him. He had an amazing voice, but he didn’t have the stage presence.
“I told him my reasons and that it was the right thing for him. But it really was the hardest thing to say.”
Former Ripley school pupil Paul had flown to Walsh’s £10.5m property in St Tropez, France, to film the ‘judges houses’ show in early September. He had known his fate for weeks before the programme aired but been asked to keep schtum by X Factor bosses.
Paul is now clinging to hope he might be offered a ‘wild card’ place into the live shows, which begin next weekend.