X Factor winner Alexandra Burke has scored this year’s Christmas number one with her debut single, a cover of the song Hallelujah.
The 20-year-old – who was crowned series champion last weekend – also became the fastest selling single by a female solo artist, shipping 576,000 copies in its first week on release.
And in a further twist, rocker Jeff Buckley‘s version of the song, originally by Leonard Cohen – entered the charts just behind Alexandra at number two. Cohen’s version also found a spot in the charts, at number 36.
According to the Official Charts Company, which compiles the top 40, it is 51 years since two different versions of the same song occupied the top two spots in the charts – and the first time it has ever happened at Christmas.
And as well as being Alexandra’s first hit, it also marks the chart debut of Buckley, who died in a drowning accident in 1997 aged just 30. Despite achieveing popularity both before and after his death, he has never had chart success until now.
“It is a particularly amazing week for Alexandra Burke who has broken a string of records to announce her arrival in spectacular style,” said Official Charts Company spokesman Martin Burke.
“And, chart placings at one, two and 36 are remarkable for a 25-year-old song which has never previously reached the top 40.”
“It was pretty much a given that Alexandra Burke would dominate the race for this year’s Christmas number one,” added HMV spokesman Gennaro Castaldo.
“But it’s been such a strange year that we thought the charts would throw up some kind of a surprise, and the twist came in the form of the Jeff Buckley cover.”
“It’s ironic that it’s taken the X Factor to get a lot more of us to appreciate the music of Leonard Cohen and the talent of Jeff Buckley.”