SOUL man Olly Murs is a step closer to his dream of stardom after being picked for the finals of ITV talent show X Factor.

Viewers watched as Olly, 25, was whisked to music mogul Simon Cowell’s Los Angeles pad to compete against five other contestants in the over-25s group.

He sang Donny Hathaway’s A Song for You in front of Cowell and So Macho singer Sinitta, on Saturday and it seemed that nerves would get the better of him.

But Olly, of Carraways, Witham, got the nod from Simon last night.

John Fisher, landlord at the George pub in Witham, one of the pubs where Olly has been gigging with pal Jonathan Goodey, said: “I’m immensely pleased for him, everybody is.

“You can’t not be happy for him because he’s such a nice person.”

Olly’s performance on Saturday got a luke-warm reception from the judges.

Sinitta commented: “He was really nervous, wasn’t he?”

But Cowell replied: “I really like him. It just shows you what the nerves can do for somebody.”

Speaking afterwards to presenter Dermot O’Leary, Olly, who used to work as a customer advisor for Climate Energy, on Witham’s Freebournes Road, said: “A couple of lines I mucked up but I just felt so emo- tional singing it.”

But Olly made it through to the live finals, which take place over the next ten weeks.

The other acts who got through were fellow over-25s Danyl Johnson and Jamie Archer, Essex girl Stacey Solomon, Miss Frank, Kandy Rain, John and Edward, Lloyd Daniels, Joseph McElderry, Rikki Loney, Lucie Jones and Rachel Adedeji.