A HUSH fell over a small Northvillage shortly after 10pm on Saturday.

But this was no tribute or vigil - this was real tension, as 250 homes in Castleton, near Whitby, North Yorkshire, held their breath waiting for the results of the voting on BBC's Fame Academy.

When it was confirmed local boy Alistair Griffin was through to this year's final showdown, there were shouts of triumph in every street, while supporters raised the roof in a packed Fox and Hounds, in nearby Ainthorpe.

The 25-year-old singer-songwriter will now have to give the performance of his life if his dreams of stardom are to come true.

At stake is the prize of a recording contract and a celebrity lifestyle for a year - including a luxury flat and a sports car.

Many now see Alistair as the favourite - not least last year's winner David Sneddon, evergreen radio presenter Tony Blackburn and, naturally, everyone back home in Castleton where every house has a poster of him in the window and every car a number to ring to vote for the local hero.

"He looked so relaxed," said Marie Cox, who went to school with Alistair's eldest sister.

"I heard him say 'We've done it!' which suggests he's already achieved what he wanted - anything else is a bonus."

Alistair's mother, Barbara, was still travelling home last night after surviving the tension of Saturday night in the crowd outside the Fame Academy house in London.

"She's really proud of him and so is the rest of the village - but it's the whole of the North-East which has helped to get him this far," said Ms Cox.

"I'm not sure if Alistair has any idea of how much support he has, but I know Barbara wanted to thank everyone for what they've done for him so far."