Tate Stevens was always the epitome of casual confidence during his "X Factor" run, and nothing ever seemed to faze him--but when speaking to Yahoo!'s Reality Rocks on Thursday, immediately after winning on the show's Season 2 finale, he freely admitted that he almost fell apart when host Mario Lopez announced the big news.
"You know what? I wanted to throw up. It was so intense. I was like, ahhhh! When they called my name, I looked at [my mentor] L.A. [Reid] and I said, 'I won?' And then I turned into a big ol' pile of mush," Tate confessed.
L.A., of course, was thrilled for Tate--and this was a way for L.A. to really go out on top, since Thursday was his last night on "The X Factor." (L.A. announced last week that he is leaving the show.) However, L.A. wasn't so thrilled a few months ago, when he threw a major, phone-slamming tantrum upon receiving the news that he'd been assigned Tate's older category, the "Over 25's." So, did Tate ever give L.A. a hard time about that? Ever the mellow dude, Tate shrugged off such a question, saying, "Not really. I did a little bit, we razzed him a little bit, but I think he realized what he had in our whole category. There was a lot of talent in the Overs. It just so happens I won!"
It is interesting that on a show dominated by teens, twentysomethings, and pop and hip-hop acts, it was a 37-year-old country singer that won the whole show (and topped the leaderboard for most of the season). Said Tate: "I just think that speak volumes about country music fans. They're so loyal, and they get behind you, and they support you. They're the reason why I'm here."
Another huge reason why Tate made it here was his family, who convinced him to audition for "The X Factor" in the first place. "My wife and kids are the ones who pushed me into doing this. I didn't really want to do the show. It's just not what I would do. I'm not this guy, the guy who would try out for a show like this. Obviously I'm really excited they did [push me] now!" Tate laughed.
There was a time, before "The X Factor," that Tate actually considered giving up on music. "When I first came home off the road [years ago], I didn't play music for a year and half," he revealed. "I didn't do anything. I just put my guitar up, and just worked. But I realized that wasn't me. I had to play music. Music is my life. So I started doing it again."
And now it is time for Tate to make music on a bigger scale, working on an album that Simon Cowell wisely hopes to get out by June/July 2013. Tate arrives in Nashville on January 2 to get right to work, and say he hopes to pen much of the album himself, joined by some of his Nashville writing buddies. "It's going to be fun, I know that," is how Tate described his hoped-for sound. "I'm going to have a lot of fun. I love having fun, and my shows are fun. We'll throw some tear-at-your-heart country ballads in there, though."
Tate has obviously had an incredible "X Factor" journey (temporary verge-of-vomiting moment aside), but when asked what his best memory of the entire experience was, his answer was a surprising one. "Simon said, 'You're a good man, and you deserve what this show can do for you,'" recalled Tate. "That was huge. That was big for me."