X Factor winner Louisa Johnson talks exclusively to Now's Amy Brookbanks about her X Factor journey, hopes for 2016 and her friendship with Cheryl Fernandez-Versini...

Louisa, congratulations!

Thanks! It’s what I’ve always wanted. I’ve often imagined myself standing there at Wembley in front of thousands of people. I’ve always had that vision in my head and I wanted it to be real. I know I’m young but I’m so ready for this. There’s been nothing else I’ve ever wanted to do and this means everything to me. I’m so proud of myself for getting this far and nothing bad can happen now. I’ve got the exposure and people know me as a singer – that’s my dream come true.

Your performances gave us goosebumps and the judges said they didn’t know how you could convey all that emotion. Where does it come from?

Yeah! Well, obviously I haven’t seen a lot in life because I’m so young, but I’ve always felt older than my years. I’m quite a wise person – I’m not silly. I know what things feel like. I’m also really good at putting myself in other people’s shoes and every time I sing I want this so much.

Do you ever think about anyone specific when you sing?

It’s not necessarily about anyone in particular, because maybe I haven’t felt anything about anyone, but it’s just… I want this so much and I have to show how much by putting it into the lyrics. Do you know what I mean? It’s just an easier way for
me to do it. It’s still emotion and it is real.

You must be exhausted now the series is over. How long were you rehearsing for in the lead-up to the final?

Every single day, all day. We don’t really get any time off. We’re always doing something, whether it’s photo shoots or interviews, rehearsing vocals or choreography.

Now that you’ve achieved your dream, do you have any other ambitions?

I’d like to play the piano. It comes in very handy. Yeah, I’d definitely like to do that.

How do you feel about being a role model now that you’re in the spotlight? Is that something you welcome?

I don’t mind it at all. I’m not perfect but no one is. It’s a really nice feeling knowing that people look up to you – that’s what I’ve always wanted. It’s a good feeling to admire someone and for someone to be admiring me is really weird cos I’m just me!

You’ve been a huge hit with the judges. Would you like to be an X Factor judge
some day?

Do you know what, I actually would! I think I’m quite good at giving advice. So I think I’d really like that.

Be honest: who’s your favourite of all the judges?

I loved all the judges! At first I thought Simon Cowell would be quite scary but he’s so, so nice. Cheryl’s lovely as well –when I see her she’ll always give me a hug.

Didn’t Cheryl give you an Alexander Wang top as a present too?

Yeah, she did… I’m really sorry, my throat’s stinging – I’m just going to have to talk a bit quieter…

It’s OK! So did she get you any other gifts during the series?

Just that one thing – but it was really nice of her to do that cos she didn’t have to.

Has Simon given you any advice in private?

He just always said: ‘Be yourself,’ and: ‘Just be you and people will like you for being you.’

And we do! Now that the series is over, what have you got planned for Christmas?

I’m so looking forward to it – I can’t wait. It’s so cosy, so chilled-out –such a nice time of year. Normally I go to my mum’s or dad’s and share the day with them – we switch it around every year. I’d love to go to LA with my family and take them all away, though. I just think it would be a nice, chilled-out place for us all to go.

What do you like to eat on Christmas Day?

Definitely a roast beef dinner. I love the whole roast tradition, I’m not really a pudding person at the moment – I don’t know why. I normally have a sweet tooth.

Will you be celebrating on New Year’s Eve?

Yeah, I’m not sure what I’m going to be doing this year because obviously I don’t know what’s going on at the moment with my schedule and I don’t know what my plans are going to be at all. I normally like to spend it with my family. Last year
I was at my dad’s, so this year I’ll be at my mum’s.

Will you be singing on Christmas Day?

Oh, I don’t think so! I think I’m going to have a nice chilled day.

Who would you like to kiss under the mistletoe?

Erm, no one [laughs].

There must be someone!

Not really, to be honest. I’m not really into all that. I’d give my mum a kiss on the cheek [laughs].

Give us the goss – what’s really happening with Olly Murs and Caroline Flack? They’d make a great couple…

Yeah, I think they would, but they’re good friends so it would be a bit weird. They get along really well but I think they’re just really, really good friends.

Isn’t that how the best relationships start sometimes?

Well yeah, I suppose so. Yeah that’s true actually!

Has fame changed you at all?

Not at all… I wouldn’t even call it fame to be honest, I’m not like Beyoncé or anything [laughs]. I’m just a normal person trying to get somewhere. Obviously
I’m in the public eye but I wouldn’t say it’s ‘fame’.

And are you looking forward to The X Factor tour?

I’m really looking forward to it. Everyone says how great it is and I’m going to be with the best people, so I can’t wait. It’s going to be so much fun. All the stress and pressure will be gone and I can just have fun.

Do you have to pinch yourself when you think about how much your life has changed
over the past few months?

Definitely. It’s really strange watching The X Factor normally over the years and then seeing myself on TV – it’s so weird!

Watch Louisa Johnson play Now’s True or False quiz…