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Alexandra Burke - 'Hallelujah'

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Fraser McAlpine | 12:44 UK time, Monday, 15 December 2008

Alexandra Burke

Once again, ChartBlog's very own X Factor correspondent - Steve Perkins - gives his view of the winner's song. A song which adds even more baggage to the X Factor champion's situation than usual, as it is something of a modern classic. But can she carry it off? Over to you, Steve... - Fraser

Gosh, it really doesn't seem like a year ago that I volunteered to review the X Factor winner's single for 2007, only to discover it would be Leon Jackson and that I would be set upon by angry Leon fans when I came to the conclusion that it wasn't very good. Now, 12 months down the line, one underwhelming single and underperforming album later, at a point where he's been outsold by the runner-up despite having released his own album nearly a month earlier, to the extent where several people connected with the show have suggested that the wrong person won, I'm not going to sit here and say I was right, but... (I know it's a can of worms, but I just can't help myself.)

I did wonder if I'd be up for the same problem this year, especially at the point early in the run when Diana 'The Claw' Vickers and Laura 'Maternity Dress' White were the favourites, considering I found them both overly affected and in dire need of proper tuning, but thankfully they failed to last the course and the highly agreeable Alexandra Burke ended up scooping the title on Saturday instead. It was an interesting result, actually - when I saw the Top 12 revealed, I thought that one of the girls would be the winner, but I thought Alexandra would be the first one of them to go, despite being the one I liked best.

Since so much of the focus was on Diana and Laura and their "edgy realness", I did think Alexandra would probably end up being overlooked and get the obligatory shock early elimination. As it turned out, that honour fell to Laura (and provoked outrage in the press, though the recent reveal of the voting statistics suggests she wasn't nearly as beloved as the complainers would have us believe) and Alex went on to beat little Eoghan Quigg (clearly not the name of a popstar, is it?) and JLS in a not-really-all-that-tense final.

(Here's her winning performance, in case you didn't see it...)

There's been a lot of controversy over the choice of single for the winner this year, because rather than idly stealing an old American Idol coronation song or a track from the Prince of Egypt soundtrack, Mr Cowell decided in his infinite wisdom that it should be a cover of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah'. There are those who say that the original, and indeed the Jeff Buckley cover, are sacred and should be left as the only canonical versions, if you like, without being subjected to association with trash like The X Factor.

To be honest, I'm not one of those people, because considering the song has, by this point in time, been covered by about a gazillion people whether officially or unofficially, on a reality show or otherwise, and used to soundtrack just about every sad moment in a TV drama ever, I can't help thinking that complaining about its purity being somehow diluted is rather closing the gate despite the horse having bolted years ago.

If, perhaps, the show had been won by someone who did not have the vocal chops for the job in hand, I could understand (and I admit, there is a small part of me that's desperate to hear Eoghan's attempt at this song, if only for the comedy value). Alexandra, however, is more than up to the challenge. Admittedly her throaty, Beyoncé-esque style of singing may not be to everyone's taste, but there's little doubt here that she can sing.

I think what I like most about it is the fact that she's treating it like a real song rather than a talent show winner's song - she's tackling it with a degree of subtlety and moderation, paying attention to the lyrics and the overall tone of the song, without turning it into a kind of "I won The X Factor - hallelujah!" overblown self-tribute song. I know it sounds daft, but heck, in the wrong hands, it could've happened.

Unfortunately despite Alexandra's best efforts to keep it simple, the production goes into typical X Factor overdrive in the last minute and a half, because Simon Cowell never met a gospel choir or a key change he didn't like, and it runs the risk of becoming extremely treacly at that point, but Alexandra is measured enough in the first half that on balance, it stays just the right side of saccharine.

Whether she goes on from here to become a Leon or a Leona is a matter yet to be decided, but on the basis of this effort, I think she's off to a good start. Put it this way: this is the first X Factor winner's single where I was willing to pay money to hear it again. Fingers crossed the folks at her new label find the right material and angle for her and perhaps a star has indeed been born.

Here's what happened when Alexandra popped into Radio 1, for the Chart Show...


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  • Comment number 1.

    this sickens me...such a beautiful song shud not be exploited by that pointless show. churning out hopeless act with no creativity and uniqueness. alex has an amazin voice but has done nothin with it but kareoke; cover after cover!!! bout time a real artist was respected an jeff buckley was one of the greatest. pleas any one whos got facebook join the group 2 jeff buckley for xmas number one" the most amaxin version of hallelujah u must all buy buckleys version!!

  • Comment number 2.

    I think you're wrong, I think she did turn it into just that. An OMG LOOK AT ME I JUST WON! song, and payed no attention to the atmosphere of the track whatsoever.
    Firstly, it's a quiet, introspective song which is very hard to pull off when you're insanely happy, as she clearly was. Secondly, the lyrics are sad and haunting, which the cheesy overblown performance completely ignores. One of the lines in the song is actually "it's not somebody who's seen the light," so what does Cowell do? Brings out a choir, a traditionally religious group of singers, who, you may say, have "seen the light". I found the whole thing highly inappropriate and would have much preferred the idle stealing of an old American Idol coronation song.
    However, you and I clearly have very little in common, apart from our dislike for Diana Vickers. As I found Laura to be immensely talented and adore Michael Buble.
    Each to their own eh?

  • Comment number 3.

    I actually quite like this version, the live performance anyway. I thoguht it would've been awful whoever sang it (and I liked Diana), but this isn't bad at all. It's not the most amazing version of the song and maybe it's nearing schmaltzy, but I think she pulls it off.
    I think during her first performance of the song she performed it well. She DID seem to have listened to the lyrics. In my opinion she delivered it in a more bitter manner, which suited her belting voice...or maybe I reading too much into her performance. :p

    I like it, anyway.

  • Comment number 4.

    Such a beautiful, mysterious song rendered plastic and disposable by people who 'don't really care for music'. People should buy and listen to the version by Jeff Buckley to hear a real singer.

  • Comment number 5.

    Personally I love this song. It has always and will always be one of my favourates with it's beautiful lyrics and slow, haunting but totally absorbing music,
    x-factor winner alexandra is covering it?
    with christmas bells in the background?
    oh hells bells!
    I cannot believe just how much they have managed to ruin this song. Yes it has been covered hundreds of times before (which is testemant to how excellent it is) but never with such crass disregard to the meaning of the song, not to mention what it means to people. I love this song, my best friend has printed the lyrics out onto a metal plaque which hangs on my wall. now whenever I look at it I hear christmas bells. Ruined by Simon Cowell and his pompous believe that whatever he does, it'll be brilliant.
    Oh and as a footnote, how annoying was Alex when she won? Staggeringly.

  • Comment number 6.

    I think the X Factor version by Alex is poor by comparison.
    The song is written from am man,s view and makes little sense when sung by Alex, who thinks she is singing a power ballad, she has no feel for the song.

    If you closed your eyes and heard Alex amongst six other average singers you can not tell the difference.

    The show is just hype, it doesn't matter who wins, because of the Judges comments people think they have "amazing voices ".

    Her voices is about the 92nd best out of the 100 covers there have been.

    Jeff Buckley's is the best.

  • Comment number 7.

    Feel free to cover it, but it will never be a touch on the original or my favoured Jeff Buckley version.

    In some songs, less is more. The emotion generated by Buckley's voice brings the song to its climax. With X-Factor, the only way to bring the song to a climax is by going bigger, louder and the age old key change!

    It shows the gulf in class between a real musician and glorified Karaoke Queen. Which I'm afraid is what the music industry is filled with these days!

  • Comment number 8.

    i think aside from what everyone else has said, and that i mostly agree with, what also bothers me is people who will now

    a)think if i am listening to the jeff version or any version that i am a fan of the x factor or am listening to it because of the x factor

    b) when people who already have it as part of their live set (aforementioned in a previous post about this - brandi carlile - and others) when they come to england (if they are not english) and perform the song - people might think oooh they're doing this because of the x factor and it could take away from the effectiveness of their version.

    i make no apologies for being a music snob, but i just think you have to have experienced certain things or understand certain things about this song to do it justice and i dont think anyone from the x factor could OR has alternatively has had the time to do so...

    yes, i am rambling on and rambling on about Brandi Carlile - but i got alot for respect for her covering the song after she explained this at a recent gig:


    i might have liked Alex's version a bit more, if at all if they hadnt put a bloody key change in it!!!


  • Comment number 9.

    Alexandra's version of this boring old song is brilliant. Couldn't be better! She deserves her success as well. Well done Alex!

  • Comment number 10.

    It's called Hallelujah, so it's a christmas song - thought that was obvious (In Cowell's head).

    Whilst Alexandra is a good singer (so are thousands of others) and she has more personality than either of the last two winners (so have thousands of others), being a good singer covering a great song doesn't make a great single.

    The point of the song is missed entirely on this version (unless it's being ironic, as it could be about Mr Cowell).

    Jeff Buckley's version is one of the best renditions of any song ever and the original is really good too. Listen/buy these. Not this.

  • Comment number 11.

    bill bored, apt choice of name as you must be bored if you think Alexandra's cringeworthy version is brilliant.

    Let's here it for the old man, Leonard Cohen, nobody could possibly do it better though I admit i love Jeff's version.

  • Comment number 12.

    I know the BBC is limp nowdays and you’re not going to get any sort of critical comment on a blog about the charts (becuz brainsz and chartz don’t mix) but have some sense.

    The outrage over the choice of Hallelujah is because it's a contentious choice. It’s contentious because of the two parties involved.

    On one hand, you have a man who is one of the few people who lyrically makes Dylan look like the Vengaboys, a man or literature and art, and a man who spent five years in a Zen monastery.

    On the other, you have Simon Cowell, a man who is not an artist or a poet but a man who has created a self-promoting record machine that is everything about earning Simon Cowell money and absolutely nothing about actual art (and no, I don’t think Leona Lewis breaks that cycle. She was picked to break America and I for one think she’ll end up being more popular in the US than the UK. She was a commercial decision and the opportunity was there).

    By choosing to cover Hallelujah, Cowell takes a song and gives it new meaning. His meaning. A commercial meaning. Rufus Wainwright’s cover was a cover showing respect from one Canadian citizen to another. Jeff Buckley took a song and poured his own interpretation into it. This is purely about cash.

    Fraser, I find this point from you to be interesting:

    “Whether she goes on from here to become a Leon or a Leona is a matter yet to be decided, but on the basis of this effort, I think she's off to a good start. Put it this way: this is the first X Factor winner's single where I was willing to pay money to hear it again. Fingers crossed the folks at her new label find the right material and angle for her and perhaps a star has indeed been born.”

    But they won’t find her good material. This is the single biggest problem with the X-Factor and all of these singing talent contests. No good original material has been produced. Leona Lewis has a fabulous voice but they’ve given her utter garbage to sing, ‘Bleeding Love’ being a pastiche of every terrible 80’s synth ballad I can think of. I’ll obviously wait for someone to shout out ‘But Kelly Clarkson produces great original material’... no she doesn’t. She gets given material that could be given to Hillary Duff, that ginger lass who’s dating Mark Ronson’s sister, even Britney. Identikit poprock for a generation. The X-Factor is a glorified karaoke machine designed to sell a few more old albums, nothing more.

    So where’s the show dedicated to songwriters? Imagine that, a show that teams up new vocalists and new songwriters. That’d be worth watching. Instead you have a format that is looking increasingly tired and a final event this year featuring one moderately decent winner, a blonde creature who looked like an Ewok, and one of the worst attempts at a boy band in history.

  • Comment number 13.

    I do feel it is hard for people to feel that any cover versions of a song would be expressed any better than the original, especially if it is the original heard first. It's a bit like Sean Connery is generally accepted as the one and only James Bond, even if his interpretation is not the closest to Ian Fleming's intended Bond. As 'versatile' as Alexandra is, I agree that her version of Hallelujah was very middle of the road and failed to capture the essence of such a beautiful song. That is not the fault of hers. Others, such as the great rocker Jon Bon Jovi have failed to do the song justice because his style or the change of the song's arrangement just didn't work. However, in my opinion, Diana Vickers version during bootcamp on X Factors was beautifully executed (and dare I say say it), much better than the original, sung with more passion and she had a lovely use of strong and light tones to capture fleeting moments of passion. It is therefore (imho) not the 'production line' format of shows like the X Factor that renders music into a lifeless grey goo but the way we vote to choose a winner which can perform well in all areas rather than choosing someone that is great in a specific style.

  • Comment number 14.

    It's strange how a feature film can have an effect which few could have envisaged.

    The soundtrack to 'Shrek' featured a very good version of the song as performed by Rufus Wainwright. This in turn led to a rediscovery of the song and the astonishing version by Jeff Buckley went to number one in ther US last year.

    This in turn further fuelled interest in the career and comeback tour by the original writer of 'Hallelujah' Leonard Cohen - who reduced some of the audience to tears in Glastonbury this year.

    The only good thing about this dreadfully overblown and appallingly produced 'X factor' version is that Leonard Cohen will get some royalties to make up for his financial loss a few years back, plus an increased public profile & further revision of the man's superb back catalogue

    The 4 best versions of the song I think in order are:
    1 - Jeff Buckley's
    2 - Cohen's original studio version.
    3 - Rufus Wainwright's
    4 - John Cale's 1991 version off the 'I'm Your Fan' tribute album to Cohen.

  • Comment number 15.

    I have loved this song for so long, and truly only the Jeff Buckley version does it justice.

    I have little doubt Alexandra has absolutely no idea what she is singing about.

    Listen to Buckleys unearthly vocal he is absolutely in the lyric, and conveys it beautifully.

    Simon Cowell gets a reference in the song

    "But you dont care for music really do you!!"

  • Comment number 16.

    I'm not pretending to be some music snob (I first heard Jeff Buckley's version of the song as part of the soundtrack to The OC so I can't pretend it comes from a deep and meaningful experience) but I'm still totally disappointed in Alexandra's version! I find it boring and totally un-moving, which considering the song is quite an achievement!

    I don't have anything against programmes like the X-Factor in general and quite like what Leona Lewis has done, but really think this choice of song is wrong for the show. I really hope it's not Christmas Number 1! The Aled and Terry Wogan song is much better!

  • Comment number 17.

    Wasn't this used in Shrek. Surely too late to get heavy about it!

  • Comment number 18.

    You shouldn't get so worked up, yes simon cowell has defecated on this song, but he knows his audience, and they by and large don't appreciate music.

    The Jeff Buckley version is stunning, which is a opinion shared by many on here.

    Simon Cowell and his orange faced, botoxed (allegedly), high trouseredness is unfortunately a symptom of the times in which we now live. We just have to live with it.

  • Comment number 19.

    Alexandra'a version is lovely, I would be very happy to hear it at Butlins, Pontins or the local on a Saturday night. The version will sell buckey loads, will make Simon Cowell even richer without him having to have a creative bone in his body. If only the public would be bright enough to find Jeff Buckley's version and hear what the song is truly about, that would be my opinion of a Christmas dream

  • Comment number 20.

    Me again,

    Change the lyric to

    "But you only care for money really dont you"

    Then it would fit nicely for the show and Cowell.

    Stop buying this and buy some Buckley

    How about,

    Forget Her

    Lilac Wine

    If you see her say hello.

    Come on spoon fed Britain reach out and get a soul of your own instead of being told what to like!!!!

  • Comment number 21.

    I don't understand the obsession with Cowell and the X-Factor. What has really done? He doesn't sing, he doesn't write songs. He didn't even come up with the original idea for this bland and over-hyped contest!

    Cohen is a genius and I find it sad that his classic has been tainted by Cowell and sung by an "artist" that will likely never be heard from again after March.

  • Comment number 22.

    i really dislike alexandra's version of this amazingly emotional yet simple song.

    the way she sings it is not the way it should be sung in my opinion. all the covers and the original are sung in a soft and consistently slow tone whereas this version sounds like one of the usual x factor disasters. if you listen to the lyrics you realise that in fact the song is NOT meant to be sung in that wailing way that alexandra does and she completely crucifies the beautiful leonard cohen song.

    i hope it doesn't make it to number 1. if she held back the wailing and sang it like it is meant to sung it would not be so bad although the winners song's always have a very predictable climax towards the end that the viewer cringes at the sound of.
    JLS's version was better but still does not compare to the original.
    if any of them had real talent they could have made it off their own backs and wouldn't have needed to go on a reality t.v show in the first place.

  • Comment number 23.

    I am 17 years old and have been familiar with the works of Leonard Cohen for the majority of them - thanks to a Dad who is the archetypal aging hippy. The poetic nature of 'Hallelujah', which is so typical of all Cohen's songs, is just perfectly captured in the Jeff Buckley version, although Rufus Wainwright's rendition comes close.

    I sometimes sing the song to myself and up until now my friends have always asked, "Why are you singing that Shrek song?" I could always retort by calling them Phillistines and suggesting they get a musical education.

    But now! I just know I'm going to get, "Oh Dan, I didn't know you were into Alexandra Burke."

    I just want to go on record as saying I'm not. I think this new version is such an over-produced, brash and soulless piece of pap and I can only assume Cowell is having a joke at our expense. Well not mine because I won't be paying to download it - although I could be convinced to contribute to the cost of erasing it forever.

  • Comment number 24.

    I do not normally watch that show but I wanted to see how they approached this wonderful song-done so beautifully by Niick Drake. The winner destroyed it with false emotion and emphasis but the 4 lads sang it beautifully with different shades and the lead singer sang really well so well in fact he gave it all and looked so drained after- a real travesty that they did not win-but this is a song that should be sung and unfortuanetly it will be sung badly as well as beautifully

  • Comment number 25.

    i don't quite understand why everyone thinks the jeff buckley version of the song is the best version of the song. it's just utter self indulgent, pretentious copying of someone elses song. buckley was a genius, and one of the best songwriters ever, but his version of this song is plain with no emotion whatsoever. the only emotion i get from it is that he sat in his room after a break up, heard this song, and thought 'what would get this girl to go back out with me'. the lyrics don't mean anything to buckley, so how can he put genuine emotion into that song? plus it's an easy song to cover, simple chords and a simple melody (although beautiful). rufus wainwright's version for me is better, but you can't really get a better version than the original.

    don't get me wrong, i think alexandra's (simon cowells) version of this song is absolutely awful...but it's the same with all of her performances during the x factor. she has no originality, and copied every song exactly how the original artist performed it. absolutely no originality about her whatsoever, and that's not anything necessarily to do with simon cowell, or cheryl cole, but because she sang along to every song on a mariah carey/whitney/christina aguilera/aretha franklin album and learnt to copy it exactly. but no-one from that show has any originality at all. the only one who does (at a push) is will young, but still his music is too over-produced and poppy.

    it won't be long before x-factor don't get a christmas no.1, and that will start the decline which sees the programme grind to a halt. fingers crossed alex doesn't get this years, and a real christmas song gets the coveted christmas top-spot.

    whatever happened to the proper christmas tunes???!!!

  • Comment number 26.

    Sorry my mind was elsewhere of course I meant Jeff Buckley oops!

  • Comment number 27.

    Dont worry about the Nick Drake slip, Most of the half wits on here wouldnt notice or have a clue who he was either.

    The song does have meaning, obviously beyond your comprehension though bored at work whateva!!!

  • Comment number 28.

    lol! i don't see why you're getting moody. what relevance and/or meaning do the lyrics have to jeff buckley? apart from the fact he wanted to cover a beautiful song? surely that idea seems beyond your comprehension?!

    and thanks for the patronising tone. very kind of you!!! well done on naming a few other jeff buckley songs, and changing some of the original lyrics! very clever, did you think of that by yourself? you must be a 'muso'!

  • Comment number 29.


    nO iM jUsT More BOrDerEr At Work ThN U obVoiOiSLY rrrrRRRR



    lATERS baby

  • Comment number 30.


    lIliAC wINE AND iF yOu sEE SAY hELLO r BOTH cOvErS


  • Comment number 31.

    Who cares about the song - monkey5493 and baredatwork83 are proving to be the highlight of my day. This is how beautiful relationships start

  • Comment number 32.

    Iam so falling in love xx

  • Comment number 33.

    hahaha! so jeff buckley couldn't write his own decent songs then?

    i just dont' see why everyone thinks jeff buckley's cover is so amazing. if he (and a million others) have covered it, why not let alexandra make a hash of it. it's a great song, made great by leonard cohen, not jeff buckley.

  • Comment number 34.

    Leonard wrote it, there is no dening his great song writing, but I personally dont think he originally made a great performance of it.

    You are right Jeff was completely talentless devoid of any soul or empathy, his performances were shallow and self indulgent drivel. He couldnt write, never mind.

    Maybe we are all so fortunate he shuffled of his mortal coil so early.

    I bow and grovel at your manicured feet.

    Accept my humble grovlingness I beseach u

  • Comment number 35.

    Sorry, off

  • Comment number 36.

    i really don't see at all why you're getting so protective of your beloved hero sir jeff buckley. i've already said he's a genius and an amazing songwriter, but i don't agree that his cover was amazing! what about that statement hurts you so badly?

    show me where exactly i said jeff buckley was completely talentless etc...

  • Comment number 37.

    This is now getting very entertaining. According to BBC entertainment page it would appear that Buckley is set to chart at number three this week sending out a signal to all X Factor followers. As for boredatwork83 and monkey5493 - should I be thinking about buying a hat?

  • Comment number 38.

    You Didnt say that I did. Didnt I?

    Nothing about that statement hurts me.

    Now, if I was to drop the complete works of Tolstoy on my dainty little feet that would hurt me.

    Any way I rather like bucks fizz better dont you?

  • Comment number 39.

    So there's a lot of hollier than thou, my musical taste's better than yours going on here - and slating Simon Cowell for a cheap shot at knicking Hallelujah for the winning song on this year's X-Factor. But you were obviously all there hooked through the series watching this - so Mr Cowell is obviously doing something right, like it or not. He even seemed to get the idea of using Hallelujah from Diana Vickers doing the song early in the series!!

    Yes there are plenty of better versions of Hallelujah than Alexandra's - and I prefered the JLS version on the night too - but to most of the British public it will be a great (or greatest) version (they'll possibly only ever heard it on the Shrek soundtrack) and the number of downloads alone already mean it will take a miracle if anything else is number 1 this Christmas. I'm just glad a great songwriter will get a bumper payday - thanks in no small part to Simon Cowell, or Diana Vickers... Merry Christmas Mr Cohen!

  • Comment number 40.

    Hi Ozard,

    Excuse me, you see I am rather thick. Could you explain the Hat reference.

  • Comment number 41.

    Jeff Buckley's version was the most beautiful. He wrote some amazing songs of his own - check him out on Itunes. The Xfactor version makes a mockery of the song. It is completely wrong. I think his version has a lot of emotion, but obviously everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I love Nick Drake too, but the Xfactor competitors probably never heard of Cohen, Buckley or anybody that talented.

  • Comment number 42.

    I think Ozard is implying that you two will be inviting him to a wedding.

  • Comment number 43.

    Just for the record, unfortunate that I have to do this.

    My remarks at entry 34 were provocative sarcasm.

  • Comment number 44.

    Thanks Catbuckleyfan,

    You will be first on the quest list,

    Followed swiftly by Simon and Alexanggdghsg (whoever she is, you see I have already forgotten her)

    Forget her

    Get It!

  • Comment number 45.

    The relationship seemed to be going from strength to strength - was hoping for a wedding invite - apologies, but was finding your conversation more interesting than the debate. Have to say both of your points were spot on. Regards

  • Comment number 46.


    I to am pleased that Mr COHEN will get a big pay packet.

    Although I suspect Christmas is not his major festive celebration.


  • Comment number 47.

    I think most of us who love Jeff and his version understood the sarcasm Monkey. I have been downloading and campaigning to get the Buckley version to no. 1.

  • Comment number 48.

    ripley11 (39)

    You're so wrong mate. The first time I heard the Burke travesty was on the car radio while on my way to rugby practice. I had no idea who she was, having never seen X-factor.

    I just laughed thinking it was a mickey-take until I was informed it was the fastest ever download by the DJ. Ah well, there's one - or is that a few hundred thousand - born every minute.

  • Comment number 49.

    Thanks CatBuckleyFan,

    I am relieved.

    I wholeheartedly endorse and back your campaign.

    I will be in Tangiers for Christmas, fancy coming?

  • Comment number 50.

    I didn't watch it either. Can't stand that commercial crap.

  • Comment number 51.

    Tangiers sounds lovely Monkey.

  • Comment number 52.

    Its great,

    Huge cocktails, great sunsets, No BBC Wonderful

  • Comment number 53.

    Got to go. Goodnight all.

  • Comment number 54.

    Such a shame was starting to enjoy this.

    Must dash soon and catch the Gondola back to St Marks.

    Happy Christmas music lovers and those who enjoy the finer things of our silly little lives.


  • Comment number 55.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 56.

    mark_the_spark - leonard wont be getting any money from this version - the rights to the song are owned by Sony. I didn't know this until earlier in the week - i thought that was the only saving grace for it - but unfort not!

    ripley11 - i may be holier than thou - but i have not been 'hooked on the show' didn't watch any of the shows and only heard about them using this song as a single last month through a message forum. And now that its finished - it's hard to avoid the song itself! Unfort. the use of the song has prob brought the show more even more attention than usual!

  • Comment number 57.

    Quote: "she's treating it like a real song rather than a talent show winner's song - she's tackling it with a degree of subtlety and moderation, paying attention to the lyrics and the overall tone of the song"

    The problem is, there ISN'T any subtlety or moderation in this arrangement of the song. The key-change at the end was the cherry-on-the-turd for me, because I'm pretty sure every X Factor Christmas single has been the same - verse, chorus, verse, chorus, CYMBAL CRASH, KEY CHANGE, CHOIR, chorus. She is undoubtedly a talented singer, but the sincerity of such a personal and placid hymn is immediately lost as soon as it's branded with the X Factor label; fans will buy it because of its popularity, not because of the emotional value it's supposed to portray.

    Interpretation is usually a great thing as the majority of music is designed to be felxible. Classical music written hundreds of years ago is still being performed by musicians with different ideas about the music's performance. Although I don't particularly like the majority of Hallelujah's versions, most are tolerable, due to the simplicity of their arrangements - one musician and the support of their instrument - which is why this version could be considered innapropriate, and dare I say "insulting" to the nature of the song. Past X Factor Christmas songs have been written for a mainstream audience, so to be covered by the winner seems fine. Hallelujah, however, was never written for such an audience, which makes it seem somewhat out of place to fans who already loved the song, for whatever reasons.

  • Comment number 58.

    God not another boring day in the office, lets continue our thread.

  • Comment number 59.

    lets get jeff buckley - hallelijah to number one !

    facebook group


  • Comment number 60.


    How precisely do you know that the lyrics meant nothing to Buckley? Do you have some connection to the mind of the late Buckley? The greatest cover versions are when the performers have some connection to the song. That connection isn't obvious to the listener but it will be there if you dig deep enough.

    As for your assertion that Buckley indulged in pretentious copying, I can assure you that Buckley played it with a capo on his guitar and offered up his own music for it. Any swift look at the musical score will tell you that.


    I haven't watched the X-Factor throughout because I'm not a fan. However I have watched some episodes because I like to review things before I praise or slate them. Mr Cowell is doing something right with X-Factor if monetary rewards are your sole crieteria for 'doing it right'. If you're judging the musical output from the show over the years, then you have to say it's a massive failure as the original songs resulting from the show have been dreadful.

  • Comment number 61.

    You know what sickens me..... you post a lovely entry about the deleightful Alexandra who is going to be pushed to glory and ruin a song which someone else has done a much better version of already. But where is the blog entry about the highest new entry this week, the Christmas song that has so many things going for it:

    1) Its about Christmas
    2) Its for Charity
    3) Its sung by people who dont need their voices edited by a computer to sing
    4) Its sung by people who want to do it to enjoy not gain stardom.

    Show some fairness please and at least give Terry and Aled a chance, they've worked hard for what they have in this single give them some credit where its due please Radio 1

  • Comment number 62.

    Yes! Terry and Aled for Christmas no. 1!

    I knew this song wouldn't be a popular choice for the X Factor single, but it's just a song. It might be a beautiful, wonderful song, but still.

  • Comment number 63.

    i would like to agree with most peoples comments hear.

    Alex has ruined this song completely. she has missed out verses, added backing singers (carol singers, whatever you want to call them)

    this song is known to me as one of the most hair tingling songs i have ever heard, Leonard Cohen and Jeff Buckley did this song proud, then Alex and Simon Cowell go and ruin it.

    i have listened to this song for many years, a song that to me will never get old or boring or die out but its also a song that should not be modernised in the worst way possible. for the last few years Xfactor fianlist songs have been a mediocure song that no-one really cares about, what was Simon Cowell thinknig this time.
    Hallelujah has many meanings to many people, the meaning of this song is probably not even truely known to the people listening to it nowadays. Alex has ruined this song. and if i walk the streets and hear little teenagers singing this song i will be disgusted because they will be singing this terrible new version rather than knowing the meaning and the soulfullness of the old version.

    Thank you Alex and Simon for Ruining one of the few goosepimpling songs out there that we know.

    just remember the line.....

    "but you dont really care for music do you"?

  • Comment number 64.

    The girl did good and her version is incredible and is few few singers that could hold there own with beyonce - How on earth people can say shes rubbish singer ?? What are you on its just pure nastyness. Be proud we have such talent in this country shes 20 for goodness sake. Shes amazing

    As for Jeff Buckey song i never even heard the song before xfactor and having now listen to his version its depressing as hell. But i can imagine for alot of the older generation that they have some sentimental attachment to it and no doubt in 15years time i probably be saying well alex sang much better version when some youngster covers it.

    What really angers me is the fact that people can be so nasty about alex when her talent is incredible and calling her karokaraok singer is awful. If alex sang in my local pub like she did in xfactor i would break down in tears and no doubt most pub would be in silence shock.

    Is get real people, shes great singer and nice girl - Just be happy for her and support her not try rip her down coz shes done well - Two different versions of incredible song - whats it matter ?

  • Comment number 65.

    I think that the Alexandra version of Hallelujah is AMAZING! Even though some say that the Jeff Buckley version is good, personally I think that although it may be good, it has had it's chance previous to this time. I think that when this song was chosen by whoever it was (Simon Cowell?) it should purley of been alexandra's version to be entered for number 1. The song I belive is a very warm reinactment of the song and she executed it very well. The critics out there....I'm sorry but she is amazing!! Go Alex! You deserve it!

  • Comment number 66.

    Alex's version is a good song, worthy of an X factor singer, but if compared with Jeff then it doesn't hold a candle, let alone a 1000 candlepower torch, to his version. Seriously, if it was any other song by any other singer then we wouldn't make a fuss but, when anyone hears Jeff's version, they almost always will stop and listen to the heavenly sound erupting from their radio. She is very good and is one of the best X-Factor kids to be raised but we cannot put her against Jeff. its not fair on her OR him when she is no.1 with an inferior version. sorry.

  • Comment number 67.

    I think that most of these comments are ridiculously unfair!

    For starters the only reason that most people 'respect' the Jeff Buckley version of the song is because of its inclusion in 'Shrek', until then most people probably hadn't heard the song or even knew who Jeff Buckley was.

    Furthermore these comments about Alexandra being typical X-factor fodder, i also have to adamantly disagree with. She was by far the best choice to win this series of the reality show and I would even go as far as saying she is the best contestant ever to appear on a British Reality TV show.

    I do accept that certain aspects of the song annoy me, for example the break in the song where it announces that it is 'Alexandra!' who has won, but it must be taken into account that this is in no way her fault but rather is a trope of the 'X-Factor Winner's Song'.

    Another aspect that she is not responsible for that people seem to be blaming her for is the 'lack of originality'. Hmm, how about X-Factor ended a week before Christmas and due to Cowell's insistence that the winning act run for Christmas Number One there was no time for Alexandra to record new material and so a cover version would be her (well, Cowell's) only choice.

    So, to conclude, she is hugely talented, deserved to win and although I prefer songs you can dance to rather than depressing ballads, the winner's single was always going to be a ballad and this isn't a bad job in the slightest.

  • Comment number 68.

    Shes ruined the song however talented she shouldnt be number one as near enough every year the x factor winner is and its time to give other people a chance! This song isnt meant to be shouty or anything so shes ruined it

  • Comment number 69.

    This is indeed a good song but i dont hold it in any kind of reverence, unlike many of the contributors to the comments.
    Her version is different and does not reflect the feeling behind the original. Personally I dont care for it. Although Alexandra has a decent voice, she has appalling breath control and diction, her vocal tecnique is weak. She now has the opportunity to develop her skills as a singer. Dont forget, that the object of X factor (or other talent shows) is to produce an entertainment show funded by viewers votes. If in the process a marketable singer is produced then that is a bonus. Leona L

  • Comment number 70.

    nickelhatton that acually made me LOL. you really think people would have heard a great song like this because of shrek! oh my days..

    diana should have won. alex is another typical boring girl, a bit like leona just not as good. i loved dianas 30 second clip of hallelujah in boot camp, that had real feeling involved in it. UNLIKE ALEX'S VERSION.

    shes made it into a song for idiots to sing into their hairbrushes, shes made it all about her, look how good i am, yes shes a good singer but why DESTROY a classic song.

    as soon as xmas is over alex will be a nobody again and the REAL musicians such as jeff buckley (yes i know its a leonard cohen song but even he prefered jeffs version) will always be remembered.


  • Comment number 71.

    No, I think she has made the song much better, Jeff Buckley although he is the original makes it sound droll where as she brings it to life. I love it! wooooow

  • Comment number 72.

    Wait, yes i totally agree with you above. Diana soooo should have won I loved her and when she did in bootcamp she was amazing at it and made me like the song..although I do like alexandra but not as much as diana..

  • Comment number 73.

    Take note.

    "But love is not a victory march. It's a cold and broken hallelujah"

    Alexandra's cover version completely distorts the meaning of this song. It takes away all that is quiet, gentle, and ultimately sincere. As wonderful as her strong voice is, it is at odds with the tone that the lyrics of the song set, and I personally feel that the song is being used as a vehicle to glorify her own vocal talents.

    And I do think we should condemn Alex and Simon Cowell. Whilst this song has admittedly been covered before, this cover has, by launching it into the mainstream with such mediocrity, totally cheapened it.

    How can we take the X Factor contestants seriously as musicians when they mindlessly recycle songs with an utter disregard for anything else apart from their own success? For many people, this will be their first listen of Hallelujah, and it is utterly different from what those of us who heard Cohen/Buckley/Wainwright sang to us.

  • Comment number 74.

    goldCcccc - jeff wasnt the original.

    shes made the song better? yeah if you want a song to sing into your hairbrush - a meaningless predictable version of a classic song.

  • Comment number 75.

    i agree noami, some of my friends ect hadnt heard hallelujah untill alex released it but i told them all to listen to jeffs version and they see exactly what i mean, there is no comparison.


  • Comment number 76.

    Well like most people who appreciate music I have to say that the x factor is ruining the Christmas No1 slot not too mention running a good song from Cohen.

    I prefer the Jeff Buckley song as his voice not only changes octives once or twice in the song but eight times. Now for people who don't know about music then that is very hard to do. So I admire Buckley for that and it is a shame he lost his life.

    I would not mind if Alex went no1 at christmas if she released an orignal song that was either she wrote or had it written for her, anything but a cover song.

    I do think x factor is a complete waste of space, as it only teaches people to sing. It doesn't find new muscians or artists that do write new music, play instruments and can perform live, which would like that record contract deal.

    Well I wonder why your not getting artists or bands publishing singles for the no1 spot at Christmas. Well its plain and simple they would never get anywhere near it due to the media coverage of x factor.

    My wish for Christmas is Jeff Buckley for No1 but hey I have an Aston Martin on that list too so doubt that will happen.

  • Comment number 77.

    I think the most irritating thing about the whole X Factor Hallelujah debacle is that, for anyone who has drawn solace or personal strength from this song, they now face having this song ruined and the meaning shot by over-produced, commercialised rubbish.

    Simon Cowell clearly only cares about lining his waist-high pockets. Although, surely if you want to do a cover of a song and release it to make money, then the writer of the song has to give their consent? Could someone please clear this up?

  • Comment number 78.

    Probably one of the greatest pieces of songwriting the world has ever seen, that is exactly the reason it should not be covered by the winner of a talent competition.

  • Comment number 79.

    i love the original version of the song but the way she sings it puts me off the song. I dont think it should be number 1 in the charts.

  • Comment number 80.

    all i'm goin to say is"JEFF BUCKLEY FOR CHRISTMAS NO1"

  • Comment number 81.

    The song is hard to pull off if you'e got a voice like Alex's so the key change was necessary but to be honest it ruined the song for me i'll stick to the originall

  • Comment number 82.

    I don't understand why everyone is getting so worked up about Alexandra's cover. Lots of songs are covers. Why Hallelujah has been covered 100 times. Jeff Buckley's version is a cover. Personally prefered JLS version over Alex's, however I do think she is a very talented singer. Who cares if she created her career from x-factor. Hey if it wasn't for Alex/X-factor/Simon doing this cover would everyone be clambering to buy or download Jeff Buckley's version, no probably not.

    I read somewhere on here that she doesn't suit the song as she is too souful, but I have just done a little quiz on BBC website where you have to guess who is singing, I have just heard everything from Bono doing a spoken word version to a country style and so on. So why no slating these ones. It's all about interpretation of a song, so they will all be different.

    I also read that viewers of x-factor don't know anything about music, well I love watching the x-factor yet I am a keen listener of all types of music from most era's and genres.

    Please remember that everyone is entitled to an opinion, me included, and therefore no-one is right or wrong. You know what, if you don't like something, don't watch/listen/eat/drink/wear/buy etc. it.

  • Comment number 83.

    Will you guys eat me if I said I like Alexandra's more than Jeff Buckley's? (:

    Saying that though, I really despise the arrangement of Alexandra's.

    A bit of the legend, Mr Cohen, for me. (: I just hope no one gets offended that his CDs sit between Alphabeat and Trivium. (;

  • Comment number 84.

    I cant really judge this as I never knew the song before she sang it. So in my opinion, she has made the song. I hope it is not xmas number 1 though as I think she is just another Leona Lewis. JLS deserved to win. Anyway i think she sings the song well. But I also i disagree with x factor stealing peoples songs and making the x factor finalists sing them and see if it gets to number 1! IF X FACTOR WANT TO GET A PROPER NUMBER 1 THEY SHOULD WRITE THERE OWN SONG!!! Dont you think??? Anway, i have nothing against Alexandera and hopes she gets to number 1.

  • Comment number 85.

    I'm not saying Alexandra Burke isn't worthy of having a hit record, but I find it an increadable shame that it becomes so predictable that after winning something like X Factor that it would be a Christmas number 1.

    Part of the excitment is tuning into the chart show not knowing whos really going to be in the top 10 let alone number 1, but the X Factor programme and all the hype is killing all this, its like opening your Christmas presents before Christmas day.

    I think there should be some kinda law against this from happening in the future, its as if they win the X Factor show and automatically get a record deal, and gauranteed number 1 single, but not just number 1 single, they get the Christmas number 1 single, which to me isn't fair to all the artists who have to come through the system properly and worked hard doing it.

    Isn't it time someone realised all this manufaturing is killing music?

    Ok you could say all the hype is raising sales, which ok it does for the Christmas week, but this all goes to the single which the X Facor hype has created, and once Christmas is over the bubble bursts big time, whereas it used to be just as interesting to see what artists made the chart for the new year, but now this is one of the most boring periods of the year, and all thank's to the X Factor show.

    Isn't this taking a very unfair advantage in the music industry? And shouldn't something be done about this?

  • Comment number 86.

    well done alexandra won the christmas number one but by jeff getting to number 2 shows the amount of people who do prefer his version.

    hopefully alexandra will shortly dissapear from the music scene so people who appreaciate decent meaningful music dont have to listen to the sound of her voice.

    thanks alexandra for possibly ruining my favourite song, EVER.

  • Comment number 87.

    Theoretically, what X-Factor do is take a brilliant song give it to an unknown who has been competing for numerous weeks on TV and ruin it.

    I prefer listening to Jeff Buckley's version because it contains soul and passion. Alexandra's version sounds over-rated and has been made without soul or feeling, but with something else of which i can't put my finger on it.

    Cheers for ruining the song, now dissapear into thin air and lets all forget about this version and return to Jeff's version which is 10 times better.

  • Comment number 88.

    hallelujah definately for number one.... but jeff buckley version n ot alexandre shes ruined the song now its going to be seriously over played and shes not even very good

  • Comment number 89.

    Is this how future Christmas charts are going to be like? X Factor winner at number 1, and the original version of what they are singing at number 2?

    May aswell open my presents now, I know what I'm going to get then!

    It's a crying shame the charts are forced into being so predictable in this way, especially at xmas time when the whole excitment was tuning into the top 40 to see whats going to be in the top 10 not just number 1.

    I'm worried this could kill the charts and music as we know it.

  • Comment number 90.

    I love Hallelujah and in some ways I'm glad that Alexandra has covered it because it's caused people to actually go and buy Jeff Buckley's or Leonard Cohen's versions. But mainly I hate Alexandra covering it because... well she's covering Hallelujah.

    When I heard that the winner's song was going to Hallelujah I didn't want either of the acts to win. And in a way we're all losers now.

  • Comment number 91.

    The fact that X-Factor takes over the Christmas charts is one thing (and very annoying at that, it should be banned by default), my main complaint is how much free press it gets.

    Could the media please bear in mind that there are 60 million people in this country. So when it's reported that 'X million people watched this show' that 60,000,000 - 'X Million' didn't, and I believe you'll find this figure is always in the majority, so perhaps it would be an idea to find something that appeals to the the non-viewers instead (This would make commercial sense to a company that's dependent on advertising revenue, surely).

    Or at least increase the amount of variety, by reducing the number of soap episodes per week, and canning the irritating tie-in shows, with their failed Celeb monologues giving their 'valued' opinions.

    But please (invoke your deity of choice) no more reality shows!

  • Comment number 92.

    X Factor winners do not deserve to have the christmas number one spot. Am I one of the only people in th UK that hasn't in love with the television show? I'm sure Alexandra's a nice girl and I don't mind if she has a number one spot, jusat not the christmas number one, sorry

  • Comment number 93.

    I think a few things need to be addressed here.I am a leonard cohen fan first and foremost.I was introduced to him in my teens by a family friend.I was amazed by his lyrical talents but when I bought his next album....various positions not only was I sad to hear it was the low point in his career in terms of sales it was also one of his most acclaimed albums.
    There was so many songs on that album which was great and indeed many more over his career that have been as good if not better than Hallelujah.
    Largely the song was ignored for 6 years until John cale covered it in the CD "I m your fan" It was a spine tingling version and appropriate too.John was a classically trained musician from wales who ended up in the velvet underground in NY of whom cohen had links.Cale for me broke the code of that song and everyone else copied it.Including Buckley.Its like having a wife or a partner who sometimes wears party clothes and looks stunning...in the end its still your wife or partner!
    As for alexandria i knew that Hallelujah was to be the song for the winner of XFactor.I was very cynical I must say.However leaving aside the fact that most of the verses were not sung it is a fantastic version.Why? Because cohen always meant the song to be song in a gospel style and i think Alexandria nailed that approach....however I also think this is a song that is only correct if a guy sings it!

  • Comment number 94.

    its christmas i thing that alex has a great voice but its just not a happy jolly song that i would like to be christmas number 1 if xfactor winners must be number 1 each and every christmas its about time they gave the winner a happy festive song that deserves to be christmas number 1

  • Comment number 95.

    Don't get me wrong on what I said earlier, I'm not saying Alexandra doesn't deserve a hit record, but I just feel if shes that good, she'd have gave a demo of a song she has sung to a record company and worked up through the system properly, dare I say it the old fashioned way.

    The whole aspect of the X Factor now seems to be making hit singles, like some kinda hit factory instead of talent show.

    It's giving singers like Alexandra or whoever it maybe in the future who may win the X Factor very unfair advantages to me.

    Ok yes you could say well it was the public who voted and put them there, but someone in the end had to win X Factor whether they we're worthy of a hit single or not, and to dominate the charts which is obviously what it amounts to now especially the Christmas charts in this way is really unfair to me!

  • Comment number 96.

    once again another christmas number one is taken by another X factor winner.

  • Comment number 97.

    I agree jeffs is a lot better, just another x factor winner to annoy us with the fake crying and pretending to faint, get a life how long do you think this one will last .

  • Comment number 98.

    The point of the Christmas number one is completely gone these days, thanks to Simon Cowell’s ego. Some years ago, there was a excitement about who or what would top the chart at Christmas, but nowadays, the interest is totally non-existent. Every year, for the last five years, the Christmas number one has been a foregone conclusion, and, apart perhaps in Simon Cowell’s little world, no-one really cares about it anymore.

    I do watch the X-Factor, and, as far as reality TV goes, it is not a bad show as such, but I would prefer the winner’s single to be released to be the first chart topping title of the year, rather that steal the fun of the Christmas number from the nation. So who cares which version of Hallelujah topped the chart. At least, it got both Jeff Buckley and Leonard Cohen in the chart, which is quite a good thing in the end…

  • Comment number 99.

    This girl is truly awful.

  • Comment number 100.

    Jeff Buckley owns this song - she sucks, why would anyone pay to hear her shout it? She shouldn't have won, she is so, so annoying.


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