Crystal Bowersox

American Idol runner-up Crystal Bowersox still feels like she won.

American Idol finale: And the winner is ...

"I feel like I've won because Lee [DeWyze] won, and I have such respect for him as an artist and a human being," Bowersox said backstage after the finale. "Both of us are going to have very successful careers and we're going to be friends for a long time."

Bowersox, 24, said she wasn't surprised DeWyze was crowned Idol's ninth winner. "I knew Lee was going to win and people seemed to be surprised by that, but I just had a feeling," Bowersox said. "I couldn't be happier for Lee. It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy."

"I said before the show [he would win]," Bowersox continued. "I just had this strange sense of peace and calm. I've been that way through the whole season if you hadn't noticed. I'm just mellow and I was willing and ready and happy for whatever the outcome was."

Read our recap of the American Idol finale

Besides going on the Idol tour, Bowersox said the first thing she'll do is "hug my baby boy and get back to living," Then she plans on recording an album while on tour. "Now the real work begins."

So what did she learn from her Idol experience? "That I can walk in heels," Bowersox joked, adding more seriously: "I've learned a lot about myself and I've learned a lot about the business. I already knew who I was, but I was just picking the things that I like and adding to it. I'm never going to be the same; my life is never going to be the same."

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Another thing that won't be the same: her boyfriend. "He wasn't cool with the lifestyle," Bowersox told Ryan Seacrest on his 102.7 KIIS-FM radio show Thursday. "He's a small-town guy and it's fine. But I'm a small-town girl but I want this."