X Factor finalists are 'doing it for Devon'
Love it or loathe it, there's no getting away from X Factor – and this evening all Devon will be rooting for two singers battling to stay in the popular ITV singing contest.
From Opportunity Knocks to Pop Idol, Fame Academy to Britain's Got Talent, the desire for celebrity status continues unabated.
And tonight Shelley Smith from Farringdon, near Exeter, and Luke Friend from Teignmouth will face the scrutiny of judges Nicole Scherzinger, Louis Walsh, Gary Barlow and Sharon Osbourne as they perform to a live audience of the ratings-busting show.
With the 2013 finalists whittled down to just 12 contestants after a nail-biting series of knockout auditions, bootcamp and judges' houses, the Devon diva and the Devon dude will now have to fight for survival.
Fresh back from the £5m X Factor house in Los Angeles, where she met Robbie Williams, Shelley said she would be singing her heart out tonight for all her family and friends.
"I've lived in Devon all my life, Devon's my home and I love it," she said.
The 34-year-old, who drives a delivery van for her parents' car parts firm, added: "I hope the whole of Devon gets behind me in this because it's the place I love and I'm doing it as much for everyone at home as for myself."
Despite Ladbrokes making her the favourite to be thrown out after tonight, Shelley says she is out to prove the bookies wrong – and there will be one person in the audience at tonight's live show cheering louder than anyone else.
"My daughter Madeline will be there and she says she's so proud of me," she said.
Shelley said the past few weeks have been a "whirlwind" but "a lot of fun". Although she has sung all her life, she said the TV audience might be surprised by this evening's choice of song.
"I like singing soul, pop, r&b, disco, a little bit of everything," she said. "I like to mix it up and I hope the viewers like what they hear.
"Sharon has been amazing. I've spent a lot of time with her and she is wonderful to work with. She's very funny, tells it like it is and the advice is just pouring from her."
Also doing his best to get a Devon voice through to the next round is 17-year-old Luke Friend. Selected to join Louis Walsh's team, the Coombeshead Academy student said: "I feel so excited to have the opportunity to perform on the live shows and I can't wait to get out there and do it. The whole X Factor experience has been wonderful, though pretty nerve-wracking at times."
Luke's mum, Sue Potts said his family, friends and school mates in Devon were all behind him.
So whether you're backing the Devon diva or the Devon dude, X Factor continues this evening on ITV.