Father proud of son's X-Factor achievement

"WIN or lose, Jason's already done it for the bush," Neville Owen, whose son battled it out for a spot in the final three in The X-Factor Australia last night, said.

Jason, who on Monday night sang two songs similar to his preferred genre, felt he did well despite negative feedback from the judges.

He sang Tom Cochrane's Life is a Highway and LeAnn Rimes' How Do I Live, and was happy with his performances.

Ahead of Jason's semi-final appearance last night, Mr Owen said his son's future in the popular competition would have meant more last night than ever before, especially if he made it to the grand final.

The program's only country artist, Jason would have the fight of his life to do so.

"Whether he comes first, second or third, he's a winner in my eyes," he said.

"The ultimate winner of the show will get a Sony recording contract and a car.

"Jason's already got a car and even if he doesn't win, I'm sure he will get something out of it.

"He went from performing for 16 people to 6 million with his talent... he's just a miracle kid."

Mr Owen said Jason called him after Monday's show and felt his rendition of How Do I Live was tough, as he was required to sing high notes.

Despite negative comments from judges Ronan Keating, Natalie Bassingthwaighte and Guy Sebastian, Jason still felt he did the best he could.

"A fortnight ago, we lost somebody close to us and Jason sent his apologies that he couldn't make it to the funeral.

"He told me that if he got through the following week, he would dedicate his song (Ronan Keating's If Tomorrow Never Comes) to that person.

"He sang it from his heart because he had a real reason to do it... everything he does he sets his mind to, and if he gets through he'll really show Australia what he can do in the grand final," he said.

The small town of Albert had, Mr Owen said, been inundated with visitors keen on seeing where his son came from.

He said he recently paid a visit to a McDonald's restaurant in Orange, and was recognised and complimented on his son's achievements.

Jason himself still could not believe the amount of bush support he had received since making the final 12 more than two months ago.

He sent his father a special message of thanks, which Mr Owen passed on to the Daily Liberal:

"Hi everyone, it's Jason. I just can't believe the great support you are all giving me, thank you once again. I appreciate it so much. Jason Owen, The X -Factor," the message read.

Jason Owen fought for a top-three spot against Natalie Bassingthwaighte's Bella Ferraro, Guy Sebastian's Samantha Jade and Ronan Keating's group, The Collective.

* Since going to print, Jason has progressed through to the show's grand final after Bella Ferraro was knocked out. He will now battle Samantha Jade and The Collective for the X-Factor crown.

anthony.cini@ruralpress.com

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