Singing sensation Nicholas McDonald is in glamorous Saint Tropez this week - but he’s not enjoying a relaxing holiday among the stars.
He’s one of six lads going through their paces with Louis Walsh in the X-Factor judge’s house, and is within range of the live TV show knockout stages.
But his mum Eileen says he’s only too well aware that “he’s only as good as his last song”, and that even at this white-knuckle stage of the contest he’s psychologically prepared for any result - but determined to do his best.
Meanwhile it has emerged that the 16-year-old is the most popular X-Factor star in the world, with a massive and growing following on Twitter and countless admirers from countries as far apart as South Africa and New Zealand.
Eileen said: “The world-wide interest in him has been phenomenal, and even although we knew he’d become massively popular that part of it has taken us by surprise - he’s a global singer now.”
She added: “I was lucky enough to be able to spend some time with him in London at the weekend, and that made me feel a lot better because he is looking great and having the time of his life.
“He’s got fire in his heart, even if he is being completely sensible about the whole thing, and is determined to give it his all.”
She says the support from Motherwell people and from Scotland as a whole has been massive, and that this has been an extra source of inspiration, adding:
“We’re just an ordinary Scottish family, and I think people can relate to that - they know Nicholas is ‘one of them’, and that his success is one everyone in Scotland can enjoy - in fact I’ve never been so proud to be Scottish.”
Her son now has the task of choosing three songs, one of which will be the crucial do-or-die decider when he makes his pitch to go through to the live shows on Saturday,
“I know he’ll make the right choice, assisted by the voice coaches,” said Eileen - who’s aware his next performance, or the one after that, could enter popular music history.
She reckons that apart from his natural talent one of his main strengths - underpinning his rocketing popularity - is that “there’s nothing phoney or fake about him”.
She said: “People realise right away that he’s exactly the likeable boy they see there, without airs or graces.
“It’s that quality which will really count as the contest heads to a decision.”
The family haven’t yet come to grips with what happens after the competition, since of course so much depends on the final result - but after weeks of incessant attention Nicholas aims to be on our screens for a while yet.
Eileen McDonald has nothing but praise for the way the Scottish press have treated them so far, commenting: “Nobody has given us a hard time - of course there’s going to be that heavy attention, and that was a new experience for us, but we couldn’t expect anything else.
“Meanwhile the local press is what matters to us most, because it’s closest to Nicholas’s friends and supporters.”
The family are unfazed by tales of exacting treatment at the judging stages, she says, reckoning that for anyone in the national prime time limelight the pressure is only going to get heavier as the competition reaches its final stages.
But she acknowledges Nicholas will need all his strength of character for the next nail-biting round which will be screened this weekend.