Marcus arrives home in style

He’s come a long way since he left Liverpool to find fame and fortune on The X Factor and it was emphasised even more when he returned to the city just days before the live final.

The 23-year-old was given the star treatment making a grand entrance at his old school in a helicopter and greeted by screaming fans.

And later in the day the singer’s mentor Gary Barlow, popped round to meet the family and have an obligatory cup of tea.

So good to see you! Marcus Collins and Gary Barlow share a warm embrace before the X Factor judge is invited in to join the singer and his family

Gary, who is head judge on the show, was mobbed when he arrived and had to be escorted through the large crowd that had gathered outside the Collins family home.

He was greeted at the front door by his proud contestant, who embraced the Take That star before inviting him in to meet the rest of his clan.

Earlier in the day children at Sacred Heart in Crosby were stunned when Marcus was flown in and promptly took to the stage in the school’s hall.

According to those present when Marcus landed at the school, he spent quite some time signing autographs for the local fans – many of whom had their own Marcus masks.

Even a special X-Factor cake had been made in honour of his return to the North West.

Although he has been the favourite throughout the series, Marcus’s odds have dropped lower than Amelia Lily Oliver’s, with Little Mix tipped to take the prize.

Dressed in typically flamboyant style with red trousers, a white shirt and matching red bow tie, Marcus performed to perfection for the gawping audience.

And rather than seeming overwhelmed by the response, Marcus lapped up his new-found celebrity status.

Marcus was put on vocal rest earlier this week as he battled a throat infection and had to cancel a show at the Royal Albert Hall alongside Barlow.

All three finalists, including teenager Amelia Lily and girl group Little Mix, also appeared on Chris Moyles’ Radio 1 breakfast show at the start of the week, but Marcus was unable to speak much throughout the interview as he continues to prepare for the showdown this weekend.

But he appears to be back to his best, belting out songs as the excitement took over in Merseyside.

The star extended his homecoming tour by then travelling to his old work place, Jonathan James Hairdressers, in the city.

A crowd gathered around the shop as he showed his face in the window and beamed for the waiting devotees.

He also performed an impromptu song for customers and workers in the salon, grabbing a hairbrush and giving his vocals a good workout.

Lost in the crowds: Marcus was overwhelmed but took his new found fame in his stride

Clearly excited to be back in town Marcus wrote on Twitter ahead of his arrival: ‘Liverpool I’m homeeeee… Can’t wait to see you all ??? you don’t need wristbands to attend xxx Marcus masks at the ready xx’