IT’S over 24 hours since Andrea Begley won the BBC’s The Voice programme and it still hasn’t sunk in.
But now the hard work starts for the Pomeroy civil servant after she beat off bookies favourite and Belfast singer Leah McFall.
“I am absolutely thrilled. I am on top of the world. I still can’t believe it,” said Andrea on Monday morning.”
But no one was more shocked than Andrea’s mum and supporters who sat in the audience aghast that she had beat off the favourite to crowned the winner of The Voice by public vote.
“I think they were in total shock. I certainly didn’t expect to win. When Holly read out my name I was totally surprised.
“Performing with The Script it was the best. It such a privilege and an honour.
“The work begins after the show. I have a good idea of where I want to go as an artist.
“I will sit down with the record company and see where we go.
“Danny wants to involved in my career. He has been such a great support up to now.”
And Andrea can’t wait to get back home to Pomeroy, Co Tyrone to see all her relatives and supporters.
“I am looking forward to getting home for a bit of a party.
“Getting to the final is an achievement and I know Leah will go onto great things,” she added.
Leah McFall had been the bookmakers’ favourite, but failed to win enough votes with her renditions of Loving You and and I Will Always Love You.
Immediately after the result was announced, Begley said she “never, ever, ever could have imagined” winning the contest.
She added: “I have to thank everyone at home for voting for me.”
McFall’s mentor Will.i.am took to Twitter to express his shock that she did not win.
He called it “unexplainable” and said he was “so sad” and “perplexed”.
But he quickly followed it with praise for the winner.
“Andrea is amazing…#dontGETmeWRONG…but we know who has the incredible #voice,” he said.
Andrea had chosen to sing My Immortal by Evanescence, before joining O’Donoghue’s band The Script to perform Hall Of Fame, and then singing Angel by Sarah McLachlan in the final round.
O’Donoghue, an Irish singer-songwriter, told the audience how proud he was of his mentee.
“It just proves that a great, great singer with a great song, you can knock down walls, you can smash down anything they put in front of you,” he said.
Turning to Begley, he added: “You’re an inspiration to me. I’ve learned more from you than you have from me.”
On Saturday evening, each artist performed two songs live on BBC 1, one of which was a duet with their coach.
The act with the lowest number of votes was Birmingham singer Matt Henry, who was the first to leave the final despite a spirited duet rendition of Never Too Much by Luther Vandross with his mentor Jessie J, and an elaborately choreographed solo performance of David Gray’s Babylon.
The remaining three contenders, Begley, Belfast’s McFall and Mike Ward, from Salford, then performed their favourite song from this series.
McFall won plaudits from the four coaches for her performance of Minnie Riperton’s Lovin’ You, known for its forays into the top end of the vocal register.
Sir Tom Jones declared: “It’s amazing. Her control is fantastic, the whole thing, all the way through it was really, really great.”
Ward said the opportunity to perform with his coach, Sir Tom, was “incredible – he’s one of the reasons I got into country music”.
But his rendition of Don’t Close Your Eyes by Keith Whitely came under fire from McFall’s coach Will.i.am, who said: “I thought there were some parts that were flat.”
In the subsequent round of voting, Begley won more votes than her rivals and took the title.
The evening’s entertainment had kicked off with a lively collaboration between all four coaches on Daft Punk’s Get Lucky, in which Will.i.am wielded a keytar.
There were also cameo performances from Robbie Williams, Dizzee Rascal and Michael Bublé.