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X Factor Winner Decided
Singing sensation Leona Lewis has been crowned the winner of the X Factor talent show, gaining 60% of the vote. The receptionist, whose voice has been likened to Whitney Houston, sang the Americans chart-topper I Will Always Love You as well as Celine Dion's All By Myself. She also gave a rendition of A Million Love Songs alongside Take That.

A million pound record deal and possible fame awaits Leona, 21, from London, who has dreamed of singing professionally since she was a little girl. The judges predicted her voice would propel her to international stardom and that she would represent Britain on the worldwide stage. Simon Cowell made no secret of the fact that he favoured Leona and Sharon Osbourne said, after her final performance, that it would be a travesty if she did not win. She is not only the first woman to win the X Factor, she is the first female to reach the final.

"I am speechless," she said after the result was announced. "Thank you for voting for me. Thank you so much, this is a dream come true. You have all made my dream come true. I'm going to go and celebrate with my family. But the first thing I want to do is to try and sleep, because it's been so hectic," she said. "After that, I would love to take my family on holiday. They've been with me through all this, so I would like to give them a treat."

However, all this might have to wait, as Simon Cowell has revealed that he has been approached by music mogul Clive Davis, whose acts include Alicia Keys and Whitney Houston, about the possibility of working with her. Her Christmas single, a cover of Kelly Clarkson's A Moment Like This, has already broken the world record of having 50,000 downloads in the 30 minutes after the show had ended, and is also highly tipped to get a Christmas No. 1. The CD version will be available in shops on Wednesday when it is expected thousands of music fans will rush out to buy copies.

Meanwhile, runner-up Ray, 18 has also been offered a recording deal by Simon Cowell. He will record a swing album at the studio in Los Angeles once used by Frank Sinatra.

Published: 18 December 2006
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