Queensland X Factor contestant Dean Ray.The tiny Queensland town of Meandarra is celebrating after its most famous son finished second on The X-Factor.
Dean Pritchard – known to fans as Dean Ray – was just pipped by Marlisa Punzalan in the final of the Channel Seven singing competition.
The 22-year-old grew up in Meandarra, which is five hours’ drive west of Brisbane and has a population around 80.
Manager of the Royal Hotel Emily Jamieson said Dean might be rocking slick hair and even slicker leather, but that wasn’t the case when they went to primary school together.
“Oh, he was a country boy,” she said.
“But he’s always been around music – he used to play the drums but now he’s an awesome guitarist and singer.”
Western Downs mayor Ray Brown said the Pritchards were a well known cattle farming family.
“It just goes to show that in rural Queensland and rural Australia, we have just as much talent as the big cities,” he said.
“We breed them pretty well out here – Pete Murray’s from Chinchilla.”
Dean attended Chinchilla High School.
Ms Jamieson said more than 400 people turned up last Wednesday night for Dean’s “coming home” visit for the show, where he met old friends and played a gig at the Royal Hotel.
“It was crazy, it was the busiest night Meandarra’s ever seen,” she said.
“I had some friends who came from as far away as the Gold Coast.”
But she said the bulk of the town went to a different location last night to watch the final.
“We tend to share everything around Meandarra, so because it was a big night here last Wednesday, we held it at the bowls club last night,” Ms Jamieson said.
She said since moving to Melbourne, Dean had been a regular visitor back home, and always played gigs at the pub when in town.
“We’ve always known how talented he is,” she said.
“He’ll go off and do massive things now.”
Cr Brown said Dean Ray was already set to headline Chinchilla’s famous Melon Festival in February next year.
“He’s been asked to everything we’ve got going on, I can tell you,” he said.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.