EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: X Factor star Paul Akister talks pets, Meat Loaf and Simon Cowell

Paul Akister. Photo credit Syco/Thames TV.
Paul Akister. Photo credit Syco/Thames TV.
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Dog lover Paul Akister is ready for his next challenge on The X Factor – and thinks Simon Cowell is barking up the wrong tree.

The soul man is determined to show Cowell he IS having fun on the TV talent show, even though he’s missing a very special friend back home in Lancaster – his beloved Scottie dog.

Our Paul revealed his close bond with pet Casper as he prepared to return to the ITV stage after his showdown with Cowell last Saturday.

The singing sensation, one of nine acts remaining in the ITV series, will unleash his powerful voice on a Queen or Michael Jackson song this weekend.

Paul is living in a house near the studios in London with the other contestants and only gets to see his family – mum Bev, dad Dave and sister Charlotte – when they come down to support him at weekends.

He said: “It is nothing like I expected, totally a million miles away from my normal life.

”I miss my little dog, a Scottie terrier.

“My family have come down every week. It must be hard, it’s not cheap to stay over.”

Last Saturday night, the shy Lancastrian had to fight his corner after Cowell said he needed to “lighten up” during his performance.

Cowell hinted Akister wasn’t grateful for the opportunity.

So nice guy Paul, who worked hard on his fitness, confidence and image before returning to The X Factor after being axed last year, wants to show the music mogul just how much fun he is having.

He said: “It wasn’t fair. I had to say something.

“I can’t work if I wasn’t enjoying myself. It might come across that way but I am scared of being knocked back again.

“From now I am just going to have fun, enjoy it more and not be so hard on myself and just smile more.

“I am always thinking of the worst case scenario.”

Cowell also slammed Akister because he didn’t like the song he was given on ‘Fright Night’, Bat Out of Hell by Meat Loaf.

“People can have an opinion on a song,” said Paul.

“But when I turned up on the night I actually liked it.

“The interviews and the VTs, when things like that get put out, your chances can be over or go through the roof.”

Despite a hard week Paul is learning a lot and had praise for his mentor, former Scary Spice Girl, Melanie Brown.

Paul said: “Mel’s amazing. I have heard a few things saying we are not getting along, that is absolute rubbish.

“I am learning a lot like production work.

“It is a massive experience. The performance side of things I have never had. It is nice to get all this experience.

“I am learning how to be confident beause it is really hard for me to do that, it is hard to get used to moving around on stage.

“I am slowly getting there. I need to stay until the end.

“Everyone is really nice, I have made some real good friends.”

He said he’s loving every minute of his time in the TV spotlight, meeting music stars like John Legend and Sam Smith.

And he is delighted by the support he’s received from fans all over the UK, and the people of the Lancaster and Morecambe district.

“It’s been amazing and overwhelming, there are banners everywhere. It is crazy.”

Paul is currently 22/1 on Paddy Power and is sixth favourite to win The X Factor.

Keep voting for Paul Akister and follow his progress on our websites, Facebook groups and Twitter pages using the hashtag #teampaul.

You get five free votes each weekend using The X Factor app, information can be found here {http: http://www.itv.com/xfactor/app}