X Factor winner Sam Bailey, from Leicestershire, has said her victory in the show is down to her years on stage as a club singer.
The 36-year-old mother of two was picked by the public over teenager Nicholas McDonald at the end of the live show in front of 10,000 people at London’s Wembley Arena on Sunday night.
She won a recording contract and will also support American pop superstar Beyonce on the UK leg of her Mrs Carter world tour in February.
The former prison officer told ITV’s Daybreak she was “totally, totally overwhelmed” by her success, but said her years on the club circuit had helped her put on a series of barnstorming performances.
She said: “I think what people don’t realise is when you’re singing in social clubs you’re not just singing for two minutes, you’re singing for sometimes two and a half hours. You’re singing non-stop and I think when you do that you get so used to it you learn how to save your voice.”
Bailey, who received more than a million votes on the show, will now bid for the Christmas number one with a cover of Demi Lovato’s Skyscraper.
She said she was looking forward to spending some time at home with her family during the festive season and still had to go back to work one more time to see her boss.
She said: “I’m going to officially go in and speak to the governor of the prison and thank him and thank everyone in the Prison Service for their support because I wouldn’t have been able to do this if they hadn’t given me the days off when I needed to audition.”