Winner of the 2008 season of the UK’s X Factor program, 21-year old singer Alexandra Burke seems to have escaped the dreaded ‘talent show curse’ thus far.

With album sales of more than half a million and four consecutive Top 10 singles under her belt, Burke now has her sights set on success further afield — including Australia, where she sat down with Sydney Star Observer earlier this month during a whistlestop visit to promote her debut album, Overcome.

Burke spent seven months working on the album, recording more than 50 songs in the process.

“I was asked if I wanted to record the album straightaway [after the win], but I said no. I said ‘Hang on. I’ve just won. I need to go away for a while and not talk to anyone.’

So I went to Mauritius for 10 days — courtesy of [X Factor judge and record company bigwig] Simon Cowell, thank you very much!” Burke laughed.

She’s still recording, with plans afoot for album number two. The morning we spoke, fizzy reggae-lite track (and rumoured future single) Start Without You had leaked to the internet. Burke remained upbeat about the leak.

“Twenty-four songs of mine got leaked recently, actually. We found out it was coming from my label. Two little boys in Germany on work experience were leaking all my shit.

“It’s a shame when music gets put out there when it’s not ready, but at the end of the day, it creates buzz — and who doesn’t love a bit of buzz?”

Burke’s hits so far have been tailor-made for gay dancefloors. Bad Boys, the number one hit that spent six months on the UK chart, is a queer-friendly ode to the everlasting appeal of dodgy blokes, while its follow-up, Broken Heels, is a girl-power anthem crying out for a drag interpretation. (“Yes! Oh honey, honey, you’ve got it in one!” Burke squealed at the suggestion.)

In fact, she recently put on a raunchy show for the homos at London superclub G.A.Y., even throwing a Michael Jackson cover into the mix.

“I took that shit so seriously, let me tell you. I planned it for three months, down to the last detail. And it packed out — I literally saw sweat dripping from the ceiling.

“The night before G.A.Y, though, I played at this iconic gay bar in Brighton called Revenge. I got out on stage and realised that the stage was a penis.”

There’s really only one question left to ask: was it big?

“It was tiny,” she said, disappointment all too evident. All they had room for was me on the dick and two back-up dancers — one on each ball.”

info: Overcome (Sony BMG) is out now.

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