Castleford singer Jack Walton, who starred in this year’s X Factor, says the show has “changed his life”.
The 18-year-old former Castleford Academy student performed his first gig in Yorkshire since leaving the show when he turned on Christmas lights at The Ridings shopping centre in Wakefield on Saturday.
Jack, of Aketon Road, was eliminated from the show after he failed to impress with his rendition of Leona Lewis’ Bleeding Love earlier this month.
He’s now been signed up X Factor’s booking agent and is holding gigs across the country.
He said: “It has been a massive change. It has literally changed my life.
“ I walk through the streets now and people recognise me which is really flattering.
“The biggest change is that I feel a lot more confident which is something I struggled with when I first started.
“When you’re on the X Factor you go into a bit of a bubble but now I’m out I feel like I can go on and achieve what I’ve always wanted.”
Jack, who quit Pontefract’s NEW College to sing full time, was greeted by hundreds of cheering fans in Wakefield at the weekend.
He said: “It was amazing because it’s the first gig I’ve done that was close to home and seeing some familiar faces and how much support there is from local people meant a lot.
“It sounds a bit daft but I never thought I would be switching Christmas lights on – they’re normally done by celebrities and now it’s me.”
Jack’s performances on the ITV talent show led to X Factor fever sweeping across Castleford and people from across the town coming out in support.
He added: “It’s been weird adjusting back to normal life because when you’re on the show, you’re living in a house with people who aren’t from Cas.
“You’re in the midst of celebrities 24/7 and once you come back to normal life you feel a bit like you don’t fit in as much which was quite upsetting at first.
“But Castleford is really important to me and I’ve always said I want to do the town proud.
“Cas is like one big community and I love it.
“Switching the lights on in Wakefield was amazing but I would love to do the same in Cas.”