X Factor boyband One Direction may have missed out on the X Factor title but they are certain of a bright future in the music business.
A chorus of "oh no" rang out in Mullingar's Greville Arms Hotel, in the Republic of Ireland - home of band member Niall Horan - as it was announced that Rebecca Ferguson would join Matt Cardle in the final sing-off.
Niall's cousins, who couldn't make it to the live show in London, watched the final at Bed nightclub on Mount Street, Mullingar, Co Westmeath, along with hundreds of fans.
"We're nervous, very nervous," said Robert Horan before the first results came in.
A win would have been "electric" for Mullingar. But the buzz will not die out -- as Niall Horan's success has given the town a "feel-good factor" regardless, according to his cousin, Aoife Horan.
Locals were flummoxed, and couldn't understand how One Direction failed to make it into the last two acts with such a massive young fanbase.
Mentor Simon Cowell said the five-some deserved to win because they worked the "hardest" after they performed their rendition of Natalie Imbruglia's 'Torn'.
"Everyone loves them. They've a huge following of young girls," said one fan, at a loss to explain the result.
Saturday night's footage of the band's trip to Bradford, where one girl in the legion of screaming fans had Niall's name painted across her face, showed just how popular the teens seemed to be.
Family and friends were stunned and thrilled to see 17-year-old Niall take to the stage with Robbie Williams on Saturday night. To see him then fall into the Take That star's arms during the judge's feedback was a moment Robert Horan describes as "jaw-dropping".
But there are those who think that's exactly where Niall should be and will be -- among the stars.
"He's meant to be singing with someone like that," said school friend Adam Keena.
"After 'The X Factor', no matter what the outcome, One Direction will be an absolutely huge band -- up there with JLS, Take That," he said.
With seven months of touring ahead with 'the X Factor' live shows, the dream is only beginning.
Who knows, maybe one day Market Square in Mullingar will make room for Niall Horan's statue next to Joe Dolan.
Source Irish Independent