X Factor winner James Arthur has toasted the "spirit of the North East" for his victory and hit back at the show's haters as "hypocrites".
The 24-year-old from Saltburn, near Middlesbrough, thanked his legion of fans back home for helping his battle for stardom.
"Thank you for the unconditional support and love," he said.
"Without them I may not have got this far, cos I'm sure that, knowing the North East spirit, they got behind their own.
"The show has produced a lot of talent from the North East, it has nurtured people like Amelia Lily and the girls from Little Mix and Joe McElderry, I would like to carry on flying the flag for the North East."
James gave a series of interviews from a five-star suite at the The Lowry Hotel in Manchester but was "keeping it real" by chomping on a McDonalds for his lunch.
"I didn't have any money before this and now hopefully I will make a little bit," he said.
"I'm living in five star hotels, I was in a bedsit before this, my music was being heard by a few people before this, now millions of people are hearing it. The contrast in lifestyles is huge."
And James said the show's knockers who claim falling ratings show the public have fallen out of love with Simon Cowell's creation are wrong.
"I disagree, I think people would miss it if it was gone," he said. "You know it's funny because I think all the people who say they hate it, watch it, and I think a lot of people who say they hate it are hypocrites because they all comment on it and people always talk about it, so whether you love it or hate it, I bet they're sat in front of the telly on Saturday night watching it.