Gallery: X Factor star Matt Cardle delights sell-out Colchester crowd

HORDES of excited fans turned out last night for X Factor finalist Matt Cardle’s Essex homecoming gig.

THEY came in their hundreds to see man-of-the-moment Matt Cardle.

Screaming and waving placards, fans gave the X Factor finalist a rapturous welcome to his homecoming gig in Essex last night.

Frenzied whoops and camera flashes greeted the 27-year-old pin-up at Charter Hall, Colchester.

The singer, who is the bookmakers’ favourite to triumph in the ITV show, edged leisurely along the red carpet, charming his new-found fanbase.

Dressed in jeans and his trademark flat cap he looked relaxed as, accompanied by his mentor Dannii Minogue, he posed for pictures.

Fans clambered frantically on each other’s shoulders to catch a glimpse of the star, as fireworks exploded in the background.

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Matt, who is from Little Maplestead, near Halstead, shouted to his fans: “Thank you so much for coming out to support me – your continued support is so important to me!”

Nearly 1,000 of his devotees – some of whom were up as early as 4.30am to queue for tickets on Monday – packed into the venue to hear him sing.

“From tonight I feel the support now,” he said. “I have been in a bubble for the last three months. But coming out and seeing the support first- hand is just incredible.”

“This could be the opportunity I have been working for all my life and get the career I always wanted.

“It’s up to the public. I’m confident in own ability and the team around me. But there’s lots of stiff competition out there.”

Matt, a painter and decorator, will face boy band One Direction, soul singer Rebecca Ferguson and teenage star Cher Lloyd in this Saturday’s final of the ITV show. Footage from last night’s concert will be shown as part of the coverage of this weekend’s final.

The singer, who is suffering from a chest infection, added: “I miss my mates and my family and my dog like mad but I have met some amazing people like Dannii.”

Joanne Wilkin, 36, of Mill Road, Colchester, summed up many fans’ feelings about the heart-throb.

“He’s hot and he can sing,” she said. “You can give him my telephone number if you want!”

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