Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co Photo: Simon Cowell and Melanie Amaro on the X Factor Finale, on December 22, 2011

When she spoke with members of the press on a conference call Friday morning, The X Factor winner Melanie Amaro had literally been up all night. Since winning the competition’s $5 million recording contract, Melanie has already done countless interviews and TV show appearances.

Read on as the 19-year-old Florida girl reflects on her whirlwind experience.

How does it feel to win The X Factor?
It’s so surreal. I feel amazing. I feel as though I’m in a dream.

Partway through the competition, you starting using your natural Virgin Islands accent. Did you plan to do that, or was it spontaneous?
To be honest, that really wasn’t planned. Something came over me during that performance, and I said to myself: You know what? Just accept who you are and just speak. And when I did, my accent just came out. It really wasn’t planned.

Credit: Ray Mickshaw/FOX ©2011 Fox Broadcasting Co Photo: Melanie Amaro Swarmed with Hugs on the X Factor Finale, on December 22, 2011

Who was more nervous on finale night: you or Simon?
He was more nervous than I was backstage, actually! He came to me and he was like, I’m nervous. My stomach is in knots. I’m nervous. I was like, Why are you so nervous? I’m the one who’s supposed to be nervous!

What are you going to do with the prize money?
I’m definitely going to buy myself a foot massager [laughs] — and buy my mom a new house.

Your family is going through a lot of financial difficulties right now. Are you able to use any of the money to help them, or is it all tied to your recording?
Whatever I can help my family with, I most definitely will help my family with.

Credit: Twitter Photo: Melanie Amaro with a Great Bag

In the beginning, Simon voted to eliminate you from the competition. Then he made a huge deal needing to bring you back. Do you think he staged the whole thing just to create drama?
I don’t know. I really don’t know. All I know is that he made a mistake. He apologized about it. I moved on from it, and look at where I am right now! Whatever happened in the past is the past, and I’m looking towards the future.

How much time passed from the time Simon cut you to when he showed up at your home in Florida?
I think it was about two weeks, just about.

How did it feel to be cut, then coming back to win it all?
After being cut, it’s like, I went back to working. I went back to doing the same old thing I was doing before. I wasn’t too happy. I was a little miserable. But after getting a chance to come back, I felt [...] wow ...

Credit: The X Factor USA Photo: Melanie Amaro Gazes Into Her Crystal Ball

Do you think you could have won with someone other than Simon Cowell as your mentor?
I don’t think I would have gone very far at all, because I needed Simon to be that tough judge that he was with me, in order for me to grow; to get to a higher place. For me, I needed Simon.

What can we expect from your upcoming album? Will any of the choir singers from your church be featured on it?
I don’t think I’m going to give anything away. I’m going to keep everyone guessing as to what’s coming out!

Have you gotten any chance to sleep since last night?
I have not, actually. I’ve been up all night.

There’s been a ton of interviews How many TV or radio shows have you done already?
I’m not sure. I’m thinking 30-something? I’m not sure. Just about...

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