You can say many things about Mr. Simon Cowell. One of them: he has a great eye for talent.
The "X Factor" mastermind picked the Florida duo (and real-life couple) Alex & Sierra as an early favorite during season three of his Fox reality series and mentored them all the way to victory on Thursday night.
After their tears had dried and the confetti settled, Alex & Sierra joined their mentor for a barrage of flashing lights and reporters awaiting them backstage.
"I don't think it's changed at all," said Alex Kinsey, gazing lovingly at his longtime girlfriend Sierra Deaton, when asked if the competition had changed their dynamic. "We still really like each other, so things are going well. At least I really like her."
Cowell predicted that Alex & Sierra could go all the way in the competition, particularly after hitting #1 on the iTunes singles chart with their cover of A Great Big World's "Say Something." But he admits he had some nagging doubts.
"I was nervous all day long, and last night to be honest with you, because I knew it was going to be close," Cowell told MTV News. "Total, total relief at the end."
Cowell joked that the lovebirds would be starting work on their debut album "tonight," just hours after their big win, and while fans will likely have to wait a beat for new music from the couple, Alex & Sierra teased a bit of what to expect from their record.
"Definitely original songs," said Kinsey. "We don't really know exactly where we're gonna go with it. I think what you've seen on the show is definitely a taste of it, but we're excited to get with producers and songwriters and see what Simon thinks we should do, and go in whatever direction feels right."
And if anyone was worried about the competition taking a toll on Alex & Sierra's personal life, fear not. They say they've emerged stronger than ever.
"I think it's just made us stronger," Deaton confessed. "We already knew we were strong, but going through an experience like this and staying the same way that we were, I think it just confirmed the things that we already thought."
She did have one concern about the experience, though. If she could change anything throughout the competition, Deaton says she'd "try and make less weird faces and remember that we're on camera, but that's me."
Kinsey disagreed, adding, "That was my favorite part about this season, actually. I'm gonna blow up all of them and frame them and put them on the wall."
We'll definitely keep our eye on those two, as will "X Factor" judges Kelly Rowland and soon-to-depart Demi Lovato. When asked to give a piece of advice to the new winners, Rowland simply said to "stay humble," while Lovato suggested to "never stop working, but only if you're having fun."