Do you have a favourite X Factor moment?
"Yes, at the judges' houses when I walked up and Robbie Williams — I love him, he's amazing — went, 'Great walk.' When he looked at me I thought 'Oh my god, there's a look,' and then I was like, 'Oh my god, I've got to sing now.' But then I sung the whole song looking into his eyes, and he didn't know what to do at one point. I think I almost made him cry.
"After I performed Robbie and I had a nice little moment talking about how people change, lifestyles and things like that. He knew about Ian, and it was really nice just to have a chat with someone that has been there."
"When Sharon was delivering the almighty news, she said, 'Do you know what Robbie said to me? He said to me that if he was at school with you, he would have dated you!'"
Did Sharon mentor you or was she more of a judge?
"She mentored me. You know, when you did see her it was good coaching advice. Even to the point that when we were at hers about to do the judges' houses audition, she would come out and say, 'Who wants a hot drink with honey?' and she would get us all our little throat sprays and put our name on them. She was really caring and really there and quite warm, and when I was missing my mum, I felt like I had another one there."
What was your reaction when you found out that you hadn't got through to the live shows?
"Straight away, all I could think about was Dusty. When I came off and saw Dermot O'Leary I was still shaking. I was in a mess and quite a bit of shock, really. I felt a bit let down in a way. I didn't know if it was me, or what I'd done. I didn't know if there was any blame or where to place it."
What do you think of the final three that did made it through from the over-25s?
"To be honest, I thought the people who did go through, and I love them all, let's make that clear, their voices are very samey. We had a lot of a 'Whitney Houston' kind of thing going on. How long is this industry going to listen to that same voice before they wake up and go, 'We need something different here?'
"I'm not one of those technical singers like Beyoncé or Whitney, that's not my thing, but one thing I always do – and I think it's really important in music – is to tell a story, to open up your eyes and sing with all the emotion you've got. I was quite surprised that, in a TV show, they didn't embrace that kind of singing."
Is there anyone in the over-25s that you would like to win?
"It's tough. I'd equally like them all to have a good go. But Lorna in particular because she has a lot of passion behind what she does."
Do you have any favourite contestants from the other categories?
"You kind of stay in your own categories, and we didn't really mingle with the other contestants. In terms of singing ability I'd like someone a bit different to win. The X Factor is the biggest voice of music in this country. It's got a major responsibility with how music develops. I just hope they open their ears a bit."
Did Dusty understand what you were going through?
"Well she turned round and said to me, 'Mummy, you're in my top six!' and I was like, 'Wicked, that's all I need!'"
Has she inherited her parents' musical talents?
"She's pitch perfect, it's actually mind blowing. She sings that Miley Cyrus song, We Can't Stop, and she puts her hands through her hair and everything. But I did have to put my foot down once, when she said she wanted a belly top."
Was Dusty's dad in touch at all when you were doing the show?
"Occasionally. He would ring to see how Dusty is and stuff."
How would you sum up the X Factor experience?
"It's been totally intense, but the intensity of it is kind of balanced out by the excitement. It's draining, but to be given an opportunity and a platform like that was just incredible."
Would you audition for the show again?
"I think I would, actually, if my mindset was in the right place. But already things are starting to happen for me, and I feel like I've just got the platform I need to get my foot in those important doors. I'm hoping that I wouldn't have to, but if I did have to, I'd do it."
What would be your advice to anyone auditioning for the show next year?
"Never sing it straight. Keep your identity all the way through, no matter what is said. It's a TV show and they want to make good telly, but just stay true to who you are all the way through."
How are you going to feel when you watch the live shows?
"It's going to be tough, but at the same time I've been given a massive platform. I am where I am now, I've got massive exposure and so many doors have opened for me."
Have you stayed friends with anyone from the show?
"Yes, I shared a room with Lorna and we had quite a lot in common. All of us in the over-25s really clicked."
What's next for you?
"I've already had lots of calls for different things. My ultimate dream would be to do a Jules Holland-type show, but with me presenting it. We're missing a Top of the Pops — we're missing a major music show that isn't about judges sat in front of people. Or, at the same time, we've got a reality show. We're like the Kardashians, in that we are a close-knit, hard working family and we go through so much."