Motherwell X-Factor star Nicholas McDonald is on Cloud Nine as he heads south for another exhausting music trial - but his feet are on the ground.
In a frank interview with the Motherwell Times the pint-sized singing sensation freely confessed to being overwhelmed by the glitz and glamour of the show - and particularly judge Nicole Scherzinger (‘who is actually even hotter in real life than she looks on TV’).
But at the same time he says he’s in no danger of losing his sense of perspective.
“I’ve seen people doing absolutely great, and then ten seconds later they’re through - finished,” he observes.
“You’re only as good as your last performance, and you’ve got to be realistic and accept it could all end very suddenly - even if things seem to be going well.”
Meanwhile we’ve at least a fortnight to wait to find how well he is really doing, as the next episodes - already filmed - are wrapped in water-tight security.
On Tuesday Ladbrokes had Nicholas at 6/1 to win, along with three others, followed by two contestants at 8/1 and then a ‘pack’ at odds from 12/1 to 25/1 - so he is certainly seen as a serious contender for the ultimate crown.
Nicholas is confident but realistic about the prospect of success.
But for his long-suffering mum Eileen, who amongst other things is his wardrobe adviser, her X-Factor contender son has already won the battle that matters most.
She said: “The whole family is on an emotional roller-coaster, hoping for the best and willing him to succeed.
“But I’m just delighted he is doing something that makes him happy and which can offer him a career however this works out - knowing he won’t end up unemployed or in some dead end job really helps.”
Nicholas added: “Nobody here in Motherwell would let me get above myself, particularly my own family - I’m just determined to do my best for them all . . . and win.”