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X Factor: Alexandra Burke wins

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X Factor winner 2008: Alexandra Burke

X Factor winner 2008: Alexandra Burke

X Factor winner 2008: Alexandra Burke

X Factor winner 2008: Alexandra Burke

X Factor winner 2008: Alexandra Burke

X Factor winner 2008: Alexandra Burke

Alexandra Burke

Alexandra Burke

X Factor stars (L-R) Eoghan Quigg, Alexandra Burke, Diana Vickers, and the group JLS

X Factor stars (L-R) Eoghan Quigg, Alexandra Burke, Diana Vickers, and the group JLS

X Factor stars Alexandra Burke, Eoghan Quigg and Diana Vickers

X Factor stars Alexandra Burke, Eoghan Quigg and Diana Vickers

Eoghan Quigg's mother and father, Denise and Chris and younger brother Dylan pack the young star's sports bag before travelling to London for the final of the X Factor

Eoghan Quigg's mother and father, Denise and Chris and younger brother Dylan pack the young star's sports bag before travelling to London for the final of the X Factor

X Factor's Eoghan Quigg from Dungiven

X Factor's Eoghan Quigg from Dungiven

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X Factor winner 2008: Alexandra Burke

Alexandra Burke from north London was tonight voted X Factor winner, landing a £1 million record contract and a shot at this year's Christmas number 1.

Clutching a copy of her new single Hallelujah, Alexandra said: "This is for everyone who voted for me. This is for you. I love you"

Burke, from north London, was firm 8/13 favourite with the bookies to win the ITV1 show.

After performing Hallelujah, the newly-crowned winner said: "Thank you for making my dreams come true everyone. I have everything to thank you for. In my bones, thank you.

"I'm the happiest girl. I love you so much."

Judge Simon Cowell said: "I'm rarely speechless but I am now. Alex, God bless you. You deserved it. Cheryl, very proud of you kid. I know this isn't everyone's cup of tea, but for everyone who's watched it, written about it and voted, thank you very much indeed."

Burke was told she would perform with Elton John at the O2 Arena on New Year's Eve.

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Runners-up JLS thanked fans for their support and said they hoped this would kick-start their music career.

Northern Ireland teenager Eoghan Quigg had the fewest votes, coming in third place.

He said: "Thanks for the experience. I just want to say thank you to everyone. I want to wish JLS and Alexandra to do their best."

His mentor Simon Cowell added: "He's a great kid, 16 years old. He's represented Northern Ireland.

"Let's face it he was up against two incredible contestants and you can leave with your head held high."

Bookies had put Quigg as the 9/2 outsider to win the ITV1 show.

Earlier the three acts each performed three songs in a bid to win the viewers' votes.

Quigg was first on stage, singing I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday, We're All In This Together and Picture Of You. For the latter he was joined by fellow Irishmen Boyzone, and afterwards Ronan Keating said: "His confidence is unbelievable. He's a real star."

JLS kicked off their evening wearing white suits and singing Last Christmas. Mentor Louis Walsh pleaded with viewers to vote for his band, before saying: "Can we win it? Yes we can!"

They were then accompanied by Westlife for Flying Without Wings, before finishing off with I'm Already There.

Burke was the final performer in each round of songs. She sang Silent Night, and US star Beyonce then joined her to sing Listen, before concluding the first part of the programme with You Are So Beautiful.

Bookmakers reported that tonight's show was the biggest reality TV betting event in history.

A William Hill spokesman said: "We have never had so many bets on a reality TV programme, with hundreds of first-timers in the shops today putting there money on their favourite contestant.

"The winning song could do the unthinkable and sell a million copies in a week."

The bookmaker is taking bets on the amount of number 1 singles the winner will have in 2009.

The odds are 9/1 for none, 1/1 for one, 7/4 for two, 11/2 for three and 16/1 for four.

Burke also knows what it means to fail at the X Factor. Three years ago she auditioned and made it through to the final 21, only to be rejected by judge Louis Walsh.

Speaking after tonight's programme, Burke said: "I went for this show three years ago and I got told to go home because I wasn't ready.

"I took three years to get myself ready, I came back and look what's happened."

Quigg added: "Getting into the final for me was amazing. I'm so happy for Alexandra, she deserves it."

Burke's musical talent runs in her family as her mother sings in the band Soul II Soul.

Her first performance was at the age of five when her mother handed her a microphone at one of her gigs.

She captivated the audience, and her profile has risen since then.

At the age of 12 Burke entered Star For A Night. She was the youngest person in the competition and was beaten to first place by Joss Stone.

Walsh said: "I did her a favour, the biggest favour of her life."

He added that there was "no way" she would have won the show three years ago.

Despite his group JLS coming second, he said: "I'm happy. I think the three finalists are going to have careers in music."

Cowell said: "No-one can deny what this girl achieved tonight.

"There would have been a riot if she hadn't won.

"I've got a really good feeling this is going to be one of the biggest selling X Factor singles. I've got a good feeling about her."

A show spokesman said more than eight million votes were cast tonight.

Former contestant Ruth Lorenzo, who shares a flat with Burke, said: "The first time I met her I knew she was going to be the winner."

Diana Vickers, who was knocked out of the show last week, has been linked with third-placed Quigg, although the pair have said they are only friends.

"He was incredible and I am so proud. I'm proud of JLS and Alex too. They rocked it," she said.


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