SHE was the bookies' favourite to win The X Factor, but Samantha Jade wasn't backing herself to win the 2012 series.
The 25-year-old said she felt "on top of the world" after exceeding her own expectations of coming third on the talent show.
"I thought The Collective was going to win," she said.
"I thought it would be Jason and The Collective. I'm just happy to have shared the stage with both of them."
Jade is the first solo female singer to win in the show's four-year history on Channel 7.
More than 2.89 million viewers tuned in nationally to watch last night's winner announcement.
Thanks to her big voice, good looks and petite frame, the Perth native has already been labeled "the next Kylie".
It's been a bumpy road up until now for the pop singer, who knew her mentor Guy Sebastian through "the industry" before auditioning for the show.
Despite several of her songs featuring on movie soundtracks, including Step Up, Jade was dropped from US record label Jive.
After finding no luck with Australian label Affinity West Entertainment, she returned home to Perth last year to count stock for her dad's mining company.
Those lessons learned will see her going forward with her new Sony Music recording deal more experienced in the ways of the business than many other reality show winners.
"The thing I remember to do is not give attention to the hate and just focus on all the love and supporters that I have," she said.
"I can't believe that I'm going to have a record coming out. It's been my dream for my whole life. I tried before and it didn't work. This (winning X Factor) is amazing."
Jade's self-titled debut album, which will feature her winner's single What You've Done To Me as well as re-recorded versions of the other songs she performed on The X Factor, will be released on December 7.