No one had a bigger 2009 than Lady Gaga. Her hits were omnipresent. Her tours legendary. Her television appearances, well, they were definitely water-cooler material. And that's saying nothing about her outfits, her photo spreads or her art.

So it was no surprise that last week, MTV News named her Woman of the Year.

On Saturday — hours before her triumphant Monster Ball tour stop in San Diego — we sat down with the reigning princess of pop to talk about the year that was, the year that will be (from the sound of things, she's not planning on resting in 2010) and what the Woman of the Year honor meant to her. Turns out, it meant an awful lot.

"It means everything," Gaga said. "I'm not only flattered but really excited. It makes me want to work harder, make better videos and better shows and better music all the time. I really appreciate all the love MTV has shown me, and the support. My performance at the VMAs, for me, was a turning point artistically, and I appreciated that you guys supported me so much."

And speaking of that blood-soaked, metaphor-heavy Video Music Awards performance (you remember it — the one where she was crushed by a chandelier, gushed gallons of blood and ultimately ascended to heaven?), Gaga counts it as one of her high points of 2009, not only because it set the stage for her current incarnation (the so-called "Fame Monster"), but because it was something she'd been dreaming about for years.

"I always dreamed about being a performer on the MTV awards. ... More importantly, I wanted to be a performer, and I wanted my VMA performance to be my groundbreaking, life-changing performance," she said. "So everything that I'd been working on was leading up to that moment, and then after that I gave birth to this new album, The Fame Monster. It was an amazing moment for me."