Country girl Caitlyn Shadbolt wins hearts via X Factor
SOCIAL media went into meltdown on Wednesday night as Gympie supporters leapt from the edge of their seats and cheered the news that singer Caitlyn Shadbolt had made the final 24 on TV's X Factor.
And among those celebrating was top country music artist Lee Kernaghan.
Caitlyn's achievement ensures the country singer with the good looks and soothing voice remains in the running for the ultimate X Factor prize - a record deal and the chance to explode on to the music scene.
As one of 24 contestants remaining in the popular competition, Caitlyn's next challenge will be to survive another round of cuts, reducing the field of 24 to 12 ahead of the live shows and public voting.
Before the final 12 is announced, the down-to-earth singer will fly to the UK for a home visit with judge Ronan Keating.
Keating has been a big advocate of Caitlyn since her initial audition.
The former boy band idol likened Caitlyn to "a young Shania Twain" and remarked on her potential.
It's enough to give any budding performer a shot of confidence, but Caitlyn's celebrity endorsements do not end there.
Earlier this week, The Gympie Times spoke with Kernaghan, who is currently on the road with his Beautiful Noise Tour - ending, fittingly, at the Gympie Music Muster later this month.
The country music star was full of praise for Caitlyn and threw his support behind her X Factor dream.
"It's great to hear of these young artists coming through in such a dynamic way," he said. "It's an exciting time... she is outstanding."
Kernaghan shot to fame in the early 90s with his energetic on-stage performances and the ability to capture quintessential Aussie culture in his music.
The star's advice for Caitlyn was simple yet poignant. "The best songs are true stories about real people and life experiences," he said.
Gympie fans wanting to show their support for Caitlyn have the perfect opportunity this weekend as the singer is appearing at Westfield Shopping Centre, Chermside, in Brisbane tomorrow from 11am.
The first 100 to arrive will receive a wristband to meet the X Factor stars.