Flanked by her mentor Cheryl Cole, an emotional Alexandra Burke learns she's been chosen as the 2008 winner of X Factor. Her mum, who rarely made it to the studio because of a life-threatening kidney disease, will be the main beneficiary of her win as the singer plans to buy her a dialysis machine
Photo: Rex
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The North Londoner received eight million phone votes from viewers, helped by a duet with guest artist Beyonce
Photo: Rex

'X Factor' winner Alexandra plans to use 1m win to help sick mum

15 DECEMBER 2008
The tears of joy Alexandra Burke shed on hearing her name announced as the winner of X Factor were as much for her desperately ill mum as for herself.

The golden-voiced singer from Islington, North London, revealed she hopes to forge a chart-topping pop career so she can help her mother Melissa Bell with treatment for kidney disease.

Her prize, a 1 million contract with Simon Cowell's record label, will go to buying Melissa a dialysis machine and a bungalow. Some 14.6 million viewers watched her triumph in Saturday's glittering finale, in which the 20-year-old former waitress entranced the audience by dueting with guest artist Beyonce.

Such was the response to the North Londoner eight million viewers voted for her - that the empresario vowed to make her a bigger star than Leona Lewis, the 2006 winner. "A star is born", he declared.

Asked if he was worried about the similarities between the two performers, Alex's new boss replied: "It's like asking would you want to sign up Witney Houston, when you already have Mariah Carey. Of course you would".

Her debut single, a cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah was made available for download immediately after the show and is tipped to become Christmas number one.

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