THE proud father of X Factor star Che Chesterman said he is overwhelmed to the public support for his talented son.

Former South Essex College student Che, 19, from Langdon Hills, has wowed the celebrity judges every week with his soulful performances.

His dad, also called Che, has been there to cheer him on every step of the competition.

The 41 year-old, from Laindon, said: “I’m very proud, and last week's performance of When a Man Loves a Woman got me choked up. He’s dealing with it really well and is loving the experience, its a dream for him.

“Even from when he was really young you could tell he was a performer and an entertainer, but it wasn’t until he got a bit older that you could hear the real talent in his voice. That was when I realised it could be something really special.

“I’m quite overprotective, so when he said he was auditioning I said as long as it’s all positive then fine.

“He’s got a very strong constitution my boy, and a very strong mind, and I thought he would do well. He’s got so much joy when he sings and that really comes across.”

The people of Basildon have been busy showing their support and voting for the former Tesco shelf stacker, who is currently second favourite to win the ITV contest.

Louise Johnson, 17, from Chafford Hundred, has been named bookies favourite.

Che senior, a lorry driver, said: " It’s left the family all walking on air, and its amazing. How often can a parent say they are watching their child live their dream.

“It’s really surreal walking round town and seeing his face on posters everywhere, and there’s been a real strong show of support. I can’t go anywhere without people coming up to me saying how much they love him.

“I want to thank everyone and the Echo for their support, it’s been fantastic. We’ve got just four weeks to go before the final and it’s getting quite nervewracking.

“With Che and Louisa this year, hopefully we will have an Essex finalist.”

While X Factor bosses are keeping details of Che's performance this weekend a secret, his dad is convinced the audience will be impressed.

He added: " I think people are going to really enjoy it, and its in keeping with the material he’s been doing. It’s a classic and it’s quite beautiful, it’s going to be a very emotive performance.”

X Factor will be on ITV from 8pm tomorrow.