Michelle McManus says the moment she won 'Pop Idol' was bittersweet for her as judge Pete Waterman stormed out of the studio after she was announced as the winner.

Michelle McManus recalls bittersweet Pop Idol win

Michelle McManus recalls bittersweet Pop Idol win

The 43-year-old singer received constant criticism from the record producer, 76, during her time on the ITV talent show in 2003 and when it was revealed that she had beaten Mark Rhodes in the public vote, Pete couldn't contain his disappointment.

Michelle admits that it was a hurtful moment because she was thrilled to win with her family watching on from the studio audience and celebrating, but knowing that Pete - who was a third of hit production team Stock, Aitken and Waterman - didn't think she was a worthy winner.

Reflecting on the 20-year anniversary of her win on the 'White Wine Question Time' podcast, she said: "I just remember looking out and my mum and dad were crying and they were screaming, and my sisters and I looked and at the same time I could see Pete Waterman just leaving the studio for whatever reason, you know.

"For me, that was agonising to see that. The thing was, I think it was just watching him because he pulled his mic off. And I'll never forget it because he had this mic and he kind of threw it down, and he didn't even wait for me to sing the song.

"Now, rightly or wrongly, he was a professional. He probably could have stayed to the end and then aired his views afterwards. So you've got Pete in my eyeline here, but my family are kind of up here, and I'm watching them all cheering. And then I see someone running over to Pete to try and convince him to stay. And he's not staying.

"And I think that was, you know, that it was so symbolic of the fact that. This was the first reaction of anyone in the professional world of music."

Despite Peter's upsetting reaction, Michelle received plenty of support on the show, including from Sir Elton John, who predicted she would emerge victorious.

She said: "What Elton John had done was he was then sitting, getting interviewed on his own and they said, 'Who do you think is going to win Pop Idol?', And he said, 'I'll tell you who I think is going to win. It's going to be'.

"And they bleeped out his answer … I said to one of the production guys, 'Can I ask you a question? Who did Elton say was going to win?', And they're like, 'Oh, we'll double check … oh yeah, it was you'.

"And they showed me the tape without the bleep. And it was me!"

Kate Thornton’s 'White Wine Question Time' is available to listen to on all podcast platforms.