Carrie Underwood Basks in Idol Afterglow

05/26/2005 at 01:00 PM EDT

Carrie Underwood Basks in Idol Afterglow
Carrie Underwood
Chris Pizzello/Reuters/Landov
It was absolute wonderment for Carrie Underwood in the moment that flashed after American Idol host Ryan Seacrest announced her as the winner on the FOX talent show's fourth-season finale Wednesday night.

"I thought, did he just call my name?" the 22-year-old blonde Oklahoman, said backstage at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre afterwards. "It took me a while to realize he actually did say my name, and then I thought, oh man, I gotta sing now. There were just so many emotions going through me. I was nervous, I was scared. It was just an amazing feeling."

As for her runner-up, Alabama rocker Bo Bice, 29: "I love him," said Carrie. "He said, 'Congratulations, kid, you deserve it,' and I said 'I love you.' He's like my big brother. We've gotten so close, and I can't think of a better person to be standing up there with me."

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She admits that she's as surprised as anyone by the outcome. "I honestly didn't know, because I tried to put myself in the public's position, and I thought, 'Who would I vote for?'" she said. "And I couldn't pick one, because we're so different."

As for the pull of the family farm in the Sooner state: "I wish I could lead a double life right now and go home. My family treats me the same way, which is what I want them to do, but then I could live here" in Los Angeles.

For Bice, it was chin up. Asked by a female reporter if he were disappointed, he responded: "No ma'am, absolutely not. I went out there and did my 100 percent best, and I had a blast."

Besides, with all that exposure, can't he expect a recording contract, too? "You never know," he said. "There's all kinds of little birdies flying around here going tweet tweet tweet."

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