LOS ANGELES — In the end, it was the country singer and all-around family man from Belton, Missouri, Tate Stevens, who won the second season of "X Factor" during Thursday night's finale. But even after his named had been called and the last of the confetti had dropped, it still didn't dawn on Stevens that he just won a $5 million recording contract.
"I can't explain it. It's not real, it hasn't happened," Stevens told MTV News backstage immediately after his big win. "I don't know. I'm so blessed to be here and be in this situation. It's crazy.
"For people to like what I do enough to vote on it every week and for me to eventually win this whole thing that's an amazing feeling right now. It's crazy," he said about the dedicated country music fans that turned out to vote each week.
Rounding out the top three finishers were 13-year-old Broadway baby Carly Rose Sonenclar in second place, and determined girl group Fifth Harmony in third. And right up to the very last moment, Tate revealed how nervous he was about the results. "I wanted to throw up. I did, I'm not kidding," he admitted. "My stomach started hurting. I'm looking over there going, 'Oh my god.' "
Thankfully, Stevens managed to keep it together in time to hear his name get called. "It is so intense, and when they called my name, I kind of turned into a big puddle of mush," the 37-year-old said.
"I'm blessed, that's all I can say. I'm truly blessed right now."
And with his multimillion-dollar contract secured, Stevens told us plans are already in place to start work on his debut album: "January 2, I'll be in Nashville and we'll start working."
Fans of 'Tate Nation' shouldn't have to wait too long either if the singer has his way. "As soon as we can get it out, we're getting it out — that's the goal," Stevens said.
Were you happy to see Tate win "The X Factor"? Tell us in the comments!