Carrie Underwood, who once famously confused Hollywood stars with stars in the sky, became a star herself Wednesday, winning the fourth season of "American Idol." The 22-year-old farm girl from Checotah, Oklahoma, relied on her powerful voice and (in Simon Cowell's words) "likeability" to edge out rocker Bo Bice, becoming the first country singer to take the crown.(see "Carrie Underwood Wins 'American Idol' ").
The following are excerpts from the press room after Wednesday's finale.
Q: What were your first thoughts after Ryan Seacrest called your name?
Carrie Underwood: "Did he just call my name?" It took me a while to realize he actually did just call my name. Then I was like, "Oh, I have to sing now." There's so many emotions going through me. I was nervous, I was excited. I was scared. It's going to take a couple of weeks. It hasn't hit me at all.
Q: What did you and Bo say to each other on stage?
Underwood: Bo said, "Congratulations kid, you deserve it". And I said I love you. He's like my big brother. We've become so close and I can't think of a better person to be standing up there with me. I'm sure it was close.
Q: How does it feel to hear that 500 million votes were cast throughout the season?
Underwood: This season has been incredibly magical. There's been so many wonderful people. The top 12 was so different, there was something for everybody. That fact that many people voted makes me realize how many people are behind me.
Q: How did you choose your wardrobe tonight?
Underwood: I actually told [the stylists] I wanted to be Cinderella. "Whatever you do, I want to feel like a princess."
Q: Will you ever return to college?
Underwood: I really want to get my degree. I worked three-and-a-half years to get it. But I think I can finish with online classes.
Q: Do you plan to stick around Los Angeles?
Underwood: Oklahoma is where I want to end up. I didn't realize how much I loved it until I wasn't there anymore. The people are what make it. And it's right in the middle of the Bible Belt and church is really important to everyone's upbringing.
Q: What can we expect from your album?
Underwood: I'm definitely going to stick to country, maybe some crossover, like Shania and Faith Hill. That's where my heart is.
For MTV News' post-decision interview with Bo Bice, check out "Rocking Runner-Up Bo Bice Wants To Show What He's Really About."