BAT­TLER LLOYD A STEP NEARER FI­NAL

Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - Mar­cus.hughes@waleson­line.co.uk

W ELSHMAN Lloyd Macey is one step away from the fi­nal of this year’s X Fac­tor after singing through the pain of a throat in­fec­tion on last night’s show.

The Val­leys X Fac­tor sensation de­liv­ered a cover of El­ton John’s clas­sic Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me on the ITV show’s semi-fi­nal to make it through to tonight’s last round be­fore next week­end’s fi­nal.

Judge Louis Walsh told the au­di­ence Macey al­most didn’t make the per­for­mance due to issues with his voice.

“But he’s go­ing to sing against doc­tor’s or­ders,” Louis told view­ers on last night’s show.

After delighting fans, Macey told the au­di­ence he was suf­fer­ing from a throat in­fec­tion.

His voice sounded strained as he spoke to Der­mot O’ Leary fol­low­ing the per­for­mance.

Now five of the six re­main­ing acts will bat­tle it out on tonight’s show to se­cure one of three places in next week’s fi­nal.

The con­tes­tant who failed to make it through last night’s s show was Matt Lin­nen.

It comes after Lloyd’s dad ad Dar­ren re­vealed that the budud­ding singer’s grand­mother and nd life­long sup­porter, Nanny Chris, had been forced to miss the last cou­ple of week­ends watch­ing him while X Fac­tor is be­ing filmed in Lon­don.

“It’s re­ally break­ing her up that she can’t be there to sup­port Lloyd,” says Dar­ren, from Wattstown, ex­plain­ing that the 70-year-old had been laid low by a ch­est in­fec­tion.

“On top of that her hus­band Mal­colm has just had a hip op­er­a­tion, so she’s been hav­ing to look after him 24/7 too - ex­haust­ing.”

He adds that it’s been es­pe­cially hard for Chris­tine given that she’s backed Lloyd in his s singing ca­reer ever since he e was lit­tle, even hand­ing out t business cards to all and sundry in or­der to get him more gigs

And fans will re­mem­ber how, back in Septem­ber, the plucky Val­leys’ grand­mother charmed the na­tion – not least Si­mon Cowell – by turn­ing up to Lloyd’s first au­di­tion with a packed lunch of fishfin­ger sand­wiches for the judges.

But Nanny Chris needn’t have wor­ried about but­ter­ing up the show’s no­to­ri­ously picky panel – her grand­son would prove him­self good enough to make it through to the show’s semi-fi­nals this week­end with­out any out­side help.

In­deed, his mov­ing ren­di­tion of Dif­fer­ent Cor­ner by the late Ge­orge Michael a fort­night ago even re­duced sea­soned show­biz vet­eran and judge Sharon Os­bourne to tears.

Dar­rren added that he was proud of how the 23-year-old had man­aged to keep it to­gether in the face of mount­ing pres­sure on the show.

“Lloyd’s been bril­liant and I know he’s been miss­ing Chris- tine not be­ing there as much as she’s missed see­ing him.

“I’m chuffed at how he’s main­tained his fo­cus and get through each new round.”

Last week even saw the six foot three Rhondda lad re­warded for his ace turns by be­ing picked to sup­port best sell­ing girl band Lit­tle Mix at the Manch­ester Arena, which hit the global head­lines in May when it be­came the site of a ter­ror­ist attack dur­ing a packed Ari­ana Grande con­cert.

“Se­cu­rity was rea­son­ably tight, as you’d ex­pect,” said Dar­ren.

“But, in­stead of a feel­ing of fear I couldn’t help get the im­pres­sion that what hap­pened has some­how man­aged to pull the city to­gether.

“There’s an in­cred­i­ble at­mo­sphere to the place now.

“Our fam­ily has a very strong bond with Manch­ester any­way, as it’s where that first au­di­tion hap­pened and we’ve made lots of friends there.”

And the gig only added to the buzzing vibe, he added.

“I tell you, the re­ac­tion Lloyd got was great, just tremen­dous.

“One of the se­cu­rity guys at the arena came over to me at one point and said that he’s never seen so many peo­ple in the audi- to­rium while a sup­port act is on.

“And af­ter­wards there were tons of fans who wanted Lloyd’s au­to­graph or to grab a selfie with him. He loves it and we love to see him en­joy­ing him­self.”

And, were all that adu­la­tion not enough al­ready, Dar­ren re­vealed that Lloyd has been given the ul­ti­mate Val­leys’ seal of ap­proval: his face em­bla­zoned all over a fleet of Ed­wards Coaches along­side the slo­gan “Sup­port #TeamLloy­dMacey”.

“Can you be­lieve it?” he laughed, hav­ing been in­formed that his son’s like­ness could be seen mo­tor­ing up and down the A470 and the M4.

“Usu­ally it’s me that gets told I’ve got a face like the back end of the bus. Ha. In all se­ri­ous­ness though, it’s things like that which are typ­i­cal of how ev­ery­one has re­ally got be­hind my boy. We can’t thank them all enough and are chuffed to bits to know he’s made such a good im­pres­sion all around the coun­try.”

From left: Lloyd, aged one, with grandad Broan and gran Nora; aged around 12 with mum Michelle and dad Dar­ren; with his par­ents aged 18; and with his gran Chris­tine

Lo­cal firm Ed­wards Coaches gets be­hind Lloyd

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