Saturday, December 7, is D-Day for Motherwell X-Factor star Nicholas McDonald, because it’s his make-or-break chance to gain a place in the final.
Week by week, Motherwell Times and Bellshill Speaker have actively campaigned to persuade readers to vote for the 17-year-old local hero.
And all the evidence we’ve found - in shops, schools and businesses across the area - suggests he has people of all ages behind him, willing him to win.
That local support is crucial, obviously for the voting power it represents but also for Nicky’s morale.
But of course his appeal goes far beyond Motherwell, Lanarkshire or even Scotland, and it’s as a UK-level contender that he has succeeded where other acts - some highly promising at the start - have failed.
The quarter-final battle was his most demanding yet, and the one where he had a right to be as worried as, typically honest, he said he was.
However his talent shone through, and won him the chance of a crack at the main title,
One of the songs Nicholas will be singing this weekend says it all: “Don’t let the sun go down on me”. and he can be sure that the home support, well aware he is so close to ultimate victory, will be tuned in and determined to help him battle through another and still more critical round.
It has been a rollercoaster contest for Nicholas, his devoted family and his best friends, but it has also been hugely entertaining for everyone who has enjoyed watching him deliver a steady stream of faultless performances.
Motherwell Times and Bellshill Speaker have issued posters galore, given major coverage to his campaign in both papers, and have even enlisted the powerful support of Lanarkshire First Bus - ensuring countless hundreds of passengers have seen the
Vote Nicky message.
Now he’s theoretically runner-up to the current favourite, Sam Bailey - but wasn’t Tamera Foster, lucky to still be in the contest, tipped to win just a few short weeks ago?
With Motherwell Times and Bellshill Speaker readers clearly ready to back him to the end he has every chance of rounding off a brilliant record of success by taking the ultimate title.
But he needs all the help he can get, and this weekend the “Vote Nicky” message is really urgent.
Our local votes could help make him the biggest name in British popular entertainment.