The University of Exeter welcomed Luke Friend and Louis Walsh last night as part of the X Factor contestant’s homecoming trip.
The X Factor finalist and his mentor were greeted by hundreds of screaming fans, who packed the piazza from earlier on in the afternoon.
Luke made an excellent effort to engage with his fans, affectionately known as ‘friendies’. Having perfected his cheeky grin, the star took several selfies in addition to posing for several photos and signing lots of autographs.
Louis Walsh, Friend’s mentor, was also keen to engage with the crowd, urging them to vote for Luke in the final this weekend. Speaking to Exeposé, X-Factor judge Louis told us that Luke is “A busker with a dream” and that “If you guys get behind him then he will win”.
When asked how he was feeling, Luke said: ‘I’m great. The day has been absolutely amazing – it’s overwhelming the amount of support I’ve been getting from everywhere. I just want to say thank you so much.”
Louis commented that the community support down here in Exeter was incredible, and that if everyone grouped together as they did yesterday, then Luke could: “Take home the trophy which he deserves.”
When asked about whether Louis had any favourite performances of Luke’s, the judge mentioned that Luke’s Week 4 version of ‘Play that Funky Music White Boy’ was a personal favourite, as was his incredible cover of Snow Patrol’s ‘Run’ performed in Week 8 of the competition: “That was the moment when I thought this guy can win. He’s a real musician. He does this wonderful thing and wants to have a long career as a singer songwriter. That’s what this show can do for him.”
Luke is looking forward to dueting with golden girl Ellie Goulding in the final of the X Factor, whose recent hits include ‘Burn’ and ‘How Long Will I Love You’. Luke told Exeposé: “I absolutely love her to bits. I can’t wait.”
Luke will be singing four songs in the final, and is looking for the public to get behind him and vote for him even more than they have been so far.
The crowd were certainly supportive of Luke during his visit to the University, standing firm and enduring the wait both outside for his red carpet arrival and inside for his stage debut in the Great Hall. In both locations, chants of “We want Luke” resonated, despite the lengthy waits.
Exeposé asked Luke whether he was proud to reach the final. He told us: “I never thought I could get to the final. I think its just hope and determination. When I performed ‘Run’ I realised I really wanted this”.
Louis added: “That’s when he came alive. The thing I like about Luke is that he’s not a karaoke artist. He’s original and definitely stands out, he’s unique…. He’s only 17! He’s got a long career.”
When asked whether playing to his local crowd was a top priority, the star lit up: “Of course, the people here are the reason I’ve been so successful in the competition. It’s been absolutely amazing. People who support me here – I’ll never let them down – I’ll always play in my area. You probably wouldn’t like the gigs that I’m most excited about because it’s playing in front of family and friends, it’s the most beautiful thing.”
After speaking to Exeposé and a red carpet appearance, the star rounded off his trip to the University of Exeter with a concert in the Great Hall. Incredibly likeable, the young star pulled out his mobile phone to capture the event by taking a selfie of him on stage with the crowd behind him.
He performed four songs, including crowd favourite ‘Skinny Love’, ending with another spectacular rendition of ‘Run’. Luke ended the night thanking the audience, making a heart shape with his hands and blowing kisses.
Kitty Howie, Lifestyle Editorbookmark me