The X Factor's Louisa Johnson talks exclusively to Now about her incredible success

Louisa, you’ve been ill recently. Is it true you were kept away from the other contestants?

I don’t know where that came from! I wasn’t really ill, I just had a sore throat. I’m still getting there now, but there’s no bug and no one’s been isolated.

How’s the X Factor experience been for you?

It hasn’t been as tough as I thought it would be. I prepared myself for a lot worse, but it’s been so much fun and I’ve met the best people ever. I’ve been tired, but I’ve got through it and it’s just been unreal.

What did you think it’d be like?

I prepared myself to be overly tired. I just thought: ‘Oh, I’m not going to get any sleep.’ But I am, so it’s a good thing.

What’s been the best bit for you?

My first audition. I know it was so long ago but I still remember how it felt and it was just absolutely amazing – one of the best feelings in the whole world. The reaction, walking out in front of thousands of people… It was just such a cool feeling.

Have there been any low points?

Not really, to be honest. I mean, there’ve been times when I’ve been really tired, but if we want this for a career we just have to get on with it. I’ve really enjoyed every second of it.

You’ve had the most incredible feedback from the judges the whole series…

If I’m honest, I don’t really like it! Obviously, I listen to the judges and take on what they say, but I like to get some criticism because then I can do something about it, whereas getting told good things all the time won’t make me any better. I just take it as it comes and I’m really, really grateful that they think that about me. As I say, I don’t really go round saying: ‘Oh God, I got great comments!’

Did it upset you when Simon Cowell said you looked tense the other week?

No, not at all, because I was. He’s not lying! I don’t know why I was to be honest. When I watched it back I was like: ‘What am I doing?’ I’m such a perfectionist and obviously that wasn’t perfect. I’ve just got to work harder.

Are you a perfectionist in everything you do?

Yeah, pretty much – especially with singing.

Beyoncé is your idol – have you managed to persuade her to duet with you yet?

I’ve told everyone I want it to happen but whether it will or not is a different story. I’ve definitely mentioned her cos that would just be my ultimate dream.

What if she’s busy?

I’ve suggested Jennifer Hudson and Mary J Blige, too. I’m dreaming big [laughs]!

Do you have any specific songs in mind?

If I was singing with Beyoncé, I’d really, really love to sing I Was Here. It’s not well known, but it’s a really powerful song and I think it means a lot of things. I love that song – it’d be a great moment.

What does it mean to you?

The lyrics are very special – it’s all about leaving a print on the earth – something to say: ‘I’m here.’ I want to leave something people remember me for.

What’s your ultimate dream?

If I win, I don’t want to be plunged straight into the deep end – I want to actually work for it. I want to graft, work hard and work my way up to the top. I want to sell out arenas, go on tour and be known all around the world.

After all the buzz, how will you keep your feet on the ground?

I don’t think I’ll get carried away because I’m not that sort of person. I’d find it embarrassing if I ever got like that. I wouldn’t let myself and my mum wouldn’t let me either. I wouldn’t want people saying: ‘Oh, there’s that Louisa girl – she’s not very nice.’ I don’t think you try to keep your feet on the ground – you either do or you don’t and I feel like I do. I’d never get too big for my boots.

Watch Louisa Johnson play our ‘True or False’ game…