Fans flock to X Factor star's show

DEIDRE MUSSEN
Last updated 17:05 17/07/2013
Jackie Thomas
DEIDRE MUSSEN/Fairfax NZ
SONGBIRD: X Factor finalist Jackie Thomas arrives in Hokitika this morning ahead of a one-off concert in Greymouth this afternoon.

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Our Jackie has put a smile firmly back on her West Coast hometown almost as wide as hers.

Greymouth's treasured X Factor finalist Jackie Thomas wowed a capacity crowd of about 900 at the small township's Regent Theatre this afternoon with crystal vocals that may well see her crowned winner on Monday night.

It's been more than four months since the 22-year-old singer-songwriter has visited Greymouth since her meteoric rise to fame began as one of 6000 hopefuls, singled out as a potential winner at her audition by judge Melanie Blatt.

She is the second of the TV3 show's finalists to sing at hometown concerts this week in advance of the two-day finale, which starts on Sunday night.

Yesterday, about 1000 Christchurch fans watched Whenua Patuwai perform at Westfield Riccarton and tomorrow, Benny Tipene will croon for Palmerston North.

Thomas told her adoring fans this afternoon she was very happy to be home, even if only for a day.

''I've got one last chance to shine and try and win it for us,'' she said as the auditorium shook with enthusiastic clapping and cheering.

''That's what I'm trying to do - make everyone proud.''

The crowd was treated to four songs, including Toxic, Son of a Preacher Man, Black Velvet and culminating with Skinny Love, her choice for her March 1 audition that blew the judges away.

As for whether Skinny Love will be one of the four numbers she will select to perform on Sunday night, well, maybe, she admitted.

Her mentor and show judge, acclaimed British-Kiwi singer, Daniel Bedingfield, was glowing with pride over the lass he called New Zealand's new sweetheart.

''She's going to win, eh?''

Before the concert, she had time to visit her parents, Kevin and Donna Thomas, who put on a feast for the TV crew, their iconic whitebait patties impressing Bedingfield's tastebuds.

Her father later revealed she inherited her singing prowess from his mother, Margaret Kitt, who was a jazz singer for years in Hawkes Bay. He also had a strong voice.

''I think my mother is quite happy because she knows that the baton has been passed on,'' he said.

Thomas' parents, brother Jared, 24, and sister Hannah, 30, will fly to Auckland to watch the finale.

''Whatever happens, it's an amazing thing in her life,'' her proud mother said.

The rest of her week will be spent back in Auckland preparing for the chance to claim the winning title, a recording contract with Sony Music Entertainment New Zealand and a brand new Ford Kuga car.

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- The Press

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