Britain's Got Talent singer Lucy Kay has revealed winning the judges and audiences' approval has boosted her self-esteem.
The opera singer hit the right notes with judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams with her rendition of Puccini's Vissi D'arte, and received four "yeses" on the first episode of the ITV talent show, taking her through to the next stage.
The 24-year-old soprano, who admitted her love of classical music led to her being bullied at school, said: " I think Simon Cowell hit the nail on the head when he said, 'Forget about the past. This is the day you start smiling for the rest of your life', and I have been since."
She added: "You couldn't see it, but I was so nervous. But I got the confidence to actually go for it and sing something that meant a lot to me. That was an immense feeling. I didn't think I would get to that stage. It was a dream come true."
Lucy, who is from Nottingham, revealed she is already revelling in her new-found fame.
" I think I only had under 100 Twitter followers. I've now got over 2,000 and that in itself is amazing," she continued. "The comments that I've received, the messages, it's just been unbelievable. I've never had that many 'friends'."
The soprano, who auditioned for the show last year, plucked up the courage to go for it a second time around following her unsuccessful attempt.
" I did audition last year but I didn't get through, so I thought I'll do it again and I did get through," she said.
"I think I've watched it ever since it came on TV and I just thought, 'Maybe this is the chance. I could get somewhere'. I always thought, 'I wonder what the judges would say if I got to that stage'."
She said Charlotte Church inspired her to start singing and helped her discover her operatic voice.
"I loved Charlotte Church - she was my idol at that time, when I was seven, and I just wanted to be her, so that's where it came about," she said.
Lucy is longing to sing an aria if she gets through to the live stages.
"I have an aria in mind that if I get to the live semi-finals, I would love to do. It's been a favourite of mine since I was seven. It's also my grandad's favourite," she said.
"So if I get to the live shows, you'll hear it. I will be practising every single day and fingers crossed."