Susan Boyle Admits She 'Secretly Held Out Hope' of Winning AGT: The Champions

Karen Mizoguchi
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Susan Boyle Admits She 'Secretly Held Out Hope' of Winning AGT: The Champions

Susan Boyle Didn't Think She'd Win AGT: Champions

Susan Boyle wasn’t crowned the best in the world during the inaugural season of America’s Got Talent: The Champions, but she didn’t exactly lose.

“I’m so fortunate that I have a great career to go back to,” the singer, 57, tells PEOPLE.

“Of course, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed, but also deep down I didn’t think I would win. Secretly you hold out hope that you just might because that’s what drives you to do your best in a competition,” she says. “I’ve never really considered myself a champion, I’m just me, Susan Boyle.”

In the end, magician Shin Lim was crowned the Champions winner — just a few months after taking home the AGT season 13 title.

“Until being on Champions, I wasn’t aware of who he was, but wow! What a guy! The talent he has and sleight of hand, it takes your breath away,” Boyle says of 27-year-old Lim.

“He absolutely deserved to win and he absolutely deserves to have a hugely successful career with his own shows in Vegas. Honestly, when I was secretly watching in the auditorium I couldn’t believe how good he was and so young, he’s got a great career ahead of him.”

Boyle was a standout among the contestants asked to be back on the Got Talent stage, with judge Mel B even giving the star her Golden Buzzer. But viewers were especially blown away by Boyle’s finals performance of “I Dreamed a Dream,” the song that made her internationally known 10 years ago on Britain’s Got Talent.

“I thought it would be a nice nod to bring back the song that started my career. It’s an incredibly special song to me and one that everyone associates with me,” Boyle says of her song choice.

“I particularly love hearing peoples stories about where they were when they first watched the YouTube clip, what it meant to them, the memories it invoked and how years on they still get the same emotions watching it,” she says. “It was a special moment in time and one that I wanted to bring back.”

Boyle adds, laughing: “Although I’ve changed a fair bit in my appearance since 2009, back then it looked like I’d got dressed in the dark!”

And compared to a decade ago, Boyle says she has a better grip on how to handle fame. “I’m an old pro at it now and I’ve learned to relax, enjoy myself and trust my wonderful team around me,” she says.

RELATED: AGT’s Susan Boyle Opens Up About Her Journey from ‘Unknown Lady with a Cat’ to Superstar

Though she didn’t win, Boyle couldn’t more appreciative of the opportunity to be back on the reality competition franchise that launched her career.

“To be invited to Champions was thrilling, it meant everything. I love the Got Talent family, that’s where it all started for me and to be able to come back 10 years later was fantastic,” she says. “I still can’t believe it’s been 10 years. It was such an enjoyable experience. Just to be asked on to AGT: The Champions was a huge honor.”

Boyle is gearing up for another milestone: a new album, titled TEN, in celebration of her decade-long career.

TEN comes after an 18-month hiatus and it’s a look back over the last decade of my music with four new tracks that have never been heard before that I decided to keep a surprise for fans,” she says. “There are very few surprises in life anymore, and well I surprised everyone 10 years ago when I stepped on the BGT stage, so I thought 10 years on let’s surprise them again.”

Boyle adds, “I’m looking forward to what 2019 holds for me. I’m going to be a busy lady, but as I always say, ‘Bring it on!’ “

Her new album, TEN, is available for pre-ordering.