Reality television may be taking up a ridiculous number of hours when you look at your weekly tv guide, but you can't deny that some of the best talent in years has come out of reality television shows. Just last week a new star was launched into this stratosphere in the UK, and all we can say is ladies and gentlemen watch this space.
Twenty year old Alexandra Burke was crowned winner of X Factor, the UK's version of American Idol, on 13th December 08 and within 48 hours she had already made history breaking the UK record of the fastest selling download single of all time. The previous holder was 2006 X Factor winner and now international star Leona Lewis, who sold 82,000 copies of her single. Two years later Alexandra smashed this with a record 105,000 copies of her version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah"and in the process secured the always sought-after Christmas #1 single. However you may ask is this an overnight success, or the end product of hard media manipulation? The answer is no on both counts.
Raised in north London, Alexandra has a sister and four brothers, and is blessed to have a mother, Melissa Bell, who is a renowned singer in her own right as a lead vocalist for Soul II Soul. Melissa was featured on a number of songs in the 1990s, including the honest, moving and thought provoking song "Be A Man." From the age of 12, Alexandra has been trying to make a name for herself and show her gift. In another talent competition Star For A Night she took second place behind a then unknown Joss Stone, and in 2005 she auditioned for X Factor but did not reach the final cut -- she was told because she was too young. Three years later she came back, wowed the judges, and now her future looks very bright. Her first major live performance will be on New Year's Eve when she shares the stage at London's 02 Arena with Elton John in front of thousands.
No doubt there will be comparisons between Alexandra and Leona Lewis. After all, both are young attractive women of colour who have won a nationwide singing competition voted for by the public. Both are extremeley talented, but early feedback suggests that Alexandra has the slight edge in her ability to also deliver powerhouse performances on uptempo tracks. The jury is out until the release of Alexandra's debut album, and no doubt she'll be showcased over in America shortly after. Whatever happens though remember you heard it here first: ALEXANDRA BURKE, the UK's newest and brightest star will be coming your way soon.