Girl group Little Mix spoke of their joy today after making history and becoming the first girl band to take the X Factor title.
Band member Jesy Nelson said their victory had not yet sunk in.
“I don’t think it is ever going to sink in,” she told ITV1 Daybreak.
Nelson, 20, from Essex, added: “Every week, we prepared ourselves to go out.”
Fellow band member Leigh-Anne Pinnock, 19, from London, said: “When he said Little Mix, it was ’My gosh, this is just insane’. We are so happy.”
The group, mentored by Tulisa Contostavlos, were speaking after they scooped the crown in front of a 10,000-strong audience at Wembley Arena in north London last night, with millions more watching the ITV show live on television.
The band, made up of Jade Thirlwall, 18, and Perrie Edwards, 18, both from South Shields, Tyne and Wear, Nelson and Pinnock, beat 23-year-old Liverpudlian Marcus Collins to the title.
Thirlwall told the programme that their popularity had increased over the contest as people got to know them.
“People got to see our personalities and got to see who we are as people and I think that really helped... I think we chose the right songs, and we showed what kind of artists we wanted to be.”
She added that her family were proud of her victory.
“They are just so proud. That is the best feeling, knowing that your family is proud.”
Asked about reports that Simon Cowell believes they could become the next Spice Girls and a worldwide act, she said: “We would love to do that... We really look up to the Spice Girls.”
Nelson said of the atmosphere at Wembley Arena: “It was incredible. The atmosphere was just amazing, the crowd, everything.
“In a weird way, it felt like we were at home. We were there for boot camp - we performed at Wembley for boot camp.”
Runner-up Collins said the band “really deserve” the title, adding that they were “amazing”.
The girls, who had never met before being put together as a band, are representing different parts of the UK within the group.
They have walked away from the talent show with a recording contract and will now release their winner’s single, a rendition of Damien Rice’s Cannonball, in an attempt to top the charts with a Christmas number one.
Little Mix are second favourites to take the Christmas number one slot in the charts following their win, Ladbrokes says.
The girl band are trailing behind the Military Wives, who are 1/2 favourites, in the race to top the festive charts.
The finalists sang three songs during the second instalment of the final – the first saw Amelia Lily booted out on Saturday night – to win the public’s vote.
For their first solo performance, the two acts sang their favourite song of the series and Collins, a 23-year-old hairdresser from Crosby, kicked off with Jackie Wilson’s Higher And Higher.
Little Mix chose Don’t Let Go by En Vogue as their favourite song, which reduced judge Kelly Rowland to tears.
She said: “I’m sorry crying but I’m just so happy for you all because I remember where you started. The public needs to vote for Little Mix. Love you guys.”
They then both sang a Christmas song – Collins performing Last Christmas by Wham! and Little Mix taking on the classic Silent Night – before giving their rendition of the winner’s single.
Before he performed, Collins said: “Standing outside and doing my first audition, I never dreamt I would get this far.”
An emotional Gary Barlow, who mentored Collins throughout the series, looked to be welling up following his act’s performance.
He said: “Wow, what a performance that was. So strange, I would never have picked that song for you and you sing it so beautifully. I really hope that’s not the last time we hear that song. That should be the winner’s song tonight.”
The winner’s single, written and originally recorded by Irish folk singer Rice, has been released digitally on sites including iTunes, Play.com, Amazon.com and HMV.com.
The CD is expected to be on shop shelves by Wednesday.