Home fans cheer X Factor's Maloney
The X Factor finalist Christopher Maloney has met fans in Liverpool ahead of a homecoming gig with mentor Gary Barlow.
The 34-year-old met a group of around 30 fans who were waiting for him as he got off the ferry at the city's Pier Head Ferry Terminal.
The fans were chanting his name and holding up signs and posters which had been handed to them by members of ITV production staff.
The controversial singer - one of only three acts left in the competition - will perform a free show at the Liverpool Empire tonight.
The former call centre worker, who had previously said he was hurt by rumours that Simon Cowell did not want him to succeed, said: "I feel like the only time I will ever prove my critics wrong is if I actually walk away and win the competition.
"But I've come this far and people have been picking up the phone and voting for me. It's just been overwhelming, I just feel so humbled."
He said it was great to be home and that he intended to visit his nan and his former workplace ahead of tonight's show. "I feel so overwhelmed to be back here. It's nice to be back. I've been looking forward to this moment all my life really," he said.
"Being in the final three of the X Factor and bringing Gary Barlow home to Liverpool and doing a show at the Empire, just to give something back for everyone that's supported me along the way.
"It's been emotional this morning but I'm really looking forward to the day ahead."
Maloney, from Kirkdale, said it was "unbelievable" that 2,500 tickets to the show sold out within 10 minutes. The singer was a wildcard act who was voted into the live shows by the public.