Voice winner Andrea: "I'm not surprised at Will.i.am's 'sad' comments"
The Voice Winner Andrea Begley said she was "not surprised" at Will.i.am's claims that the result of the show was ''so sad'' and ''unexplainable'' - but said the fact is she was the public's choice.
Partially sighted Andrea, 27, from County Tyrone, was crowned the winner of the BBC show last night, beating hot favourite and fellow Northern Ireland contestant Leah McFall, who was on Will.i.am's team.
Not long after the civil servant was announced as the winner of the major record deal, Twitter-loving coach Will.i.am tweeted: ''You should feel the audiences vibration in the room tonight after the public's vote...its #unexplainable...so sad...#perplexed.''
He quickly followed it with a second tweet: ''Andrea is amazing...#dontGETmeWRONG...but we know who has the incredible #voice.''
Andrea, who has just 10% vision, said she spoke to the superstar coach after the show, and he told her he would have given her the same enthusiastic backing if she was on his team.
Commenting on his controversial tweets, Andrea, who was on The Script star Danny O'Donoghue's team, said: "I had a good chat with Will afterwards. Every coach is 110% behind their act and Will was definitely very much from the get-go behind Leah, and I'm not surprised that he said that.
"He actually said to me that had I been on his team he'd have the same level of support for me. It's his act. He wants to support them all the way, and I have no doubt beyond the show Leah will do exceptionally well. She will be very successful.
"Will spoke to me and he wishes me well, but obviously everybody wants their act to win and I can understand that he maybe was disappointed.
"But at the end of the day the audience voted me, so that's it."
Andrea, who hails from the village of Pomeroy, faces the pressure of trying to avoid the fate of last year's winner Leanne Mitchell, who flopped.
Her debut single did not reach the top 40, while her album recently missed out on the top 100 - but Andrea is not daunted.
"The only pressure I feel is the pressure I put on myself. Anything I do in life I do my utmost, and I put my heart and soul into it, and I do it to the best of my abilities.
"I'll do the same with this. I've been given an opportunity. I will do what I can with it and put my best into it, and hopefully my best is good enough. I'm willing to put in the work.
"I know people have expectations and I will do my best to fulfil those," she said.
Will.i.am spoke out this week about the latest series of the talent show being ''pointless'' unless it produced a real star, and said the coaches are dealing with people's "freaking dreams and aspirations".
He said: ''These shows render themselves pointless if they can't identify something that's going to be on the radio and that's just me being part of the show. So we spend all this time looking for somebody and they aren't on the radio?
''In my opinion, after the show is finished everyone should be scrambling, just like they were scrambling to find the next singer, just to make sure the person who won has a chance, has a shot, at the radio. Because that's what the premise is - the premise isn't just a record deal, the premise is a career.
''After last year I take that stuff too serious and personal especially if I'm here on TV saying, 'you know we're going to fight for you and you need to be on my team'. So after you win or lose what are you doing?
''Was it just a crock of bull because your back was turned and you turned around and, boom, a camera is on you and you've got to say what you've got to say to look all nice and pretty.
''I ain't one of those guys, these are people's freaking dreams and aspirations.''
Andrea said there was no rivalry between her and her Northern Irish rival Leah - adding that they were both delighted that it was an Irish win.
"We got on very well together. We had a good chat after the show last night and Leah said to me 'Look, I wish you all the best', and she said 'Look, we did it, Northern Ireland won'.
"She was very much supportive. She's a lovely girl, and very, very talented, and she has an amazing voice, and I really hope that she goes on to great things, and I have no doubt that she will," said Andrea.
The 2013 victor, who said she is on "top of the world" and looking forward to a "complete change of life", looked shocked as her name was announced as the winner - but perhaps not as shocked as her mother Ann.
The television cameras cut to Ann in the moments after her daughter's name was read out, and her flabbergasted and wide-eyed expression quickly became a talking point online.
"Someone told me that my mum's face was trending on Twitter, and I'm not sure that I ever thought I'd hear those words," said Andrea.
Known for her sense of humour throughout the series, Andrea received a rapturous response when she visited her home village this week, joking: ''Never mind being blind, I'll be deaf by the end of this.''
Host Holly Willoughby provoked discussion on Twitter last night after she mistakenly said it was 2003.
Tweeting afterwards, she said: "Well done Andrea!!! Can't wait till 2004! What a year that will be!!! Oops! X"
Last night's final had an average of 7.2 million viewers - up from an average of 7.1 million viewers for last year's final.
There was a 8.7 million peak for seeing Andrea crowned as the winner.
As well as beating Belfast girl Leah, she also triumphed over Matt Henry from London and Mike Ward from Salford.
And Andrea believes that with hard work and support, they can all become a success.
"Everyone has their own market and their own audience, and I think there's potential for everybody to be successful with the right work and the right people behind them," she said.