Marcus Collins has revealed that his X Factor mentor Gary Barlow has kept his promise to support him in his music career.
The TV talent show runner-up and the Take That star struck up a close friendship during their time working together.
And even now the cameras have stopped rolling, Marcus is in regular contact with Gary and gets constant advice from him.
"It was pretty odd the first time he came round for tea," he said. "Gary kept quizzing all my family, trying to get the gossip, but there isn't really any. Then him and my nan sat talking for hours. They could talk a glass eye to sleep, them two.
"Gary's a man of his word, though, and when he says he wants to help me with my career, he means it. You only have to look at all the charity work he's done to see that he'll go the extra mile to help people. I can learn a lot from him."
Marcus, who was previously a member of boyband Eton Road, is now looking forward to performing in front of huge crowds on The X Factor tour before his debut single and album are released in March.
"I've wanted this for so long, so I can't believe how quickly it's all gone," he said.
"When I left Eton Road, I had to have the belief to go on, regardless of how many times I heard 'No'.
"Being a singer is all I've ever wanted to do, and I wasn't going to let a few rejections stop me."
:: Marcus Collins is part of the X Factor Live Tour 2012, which begins on February 25 in Manchester.