Not being funny; but let's look at X Factors' track record of winners-releases. Steve Whathisnameepicfail isn't even worth mentioning, Shayne Ward was passable with huge "Justin Timberlake" potential but ultimately was very badly managed, Leona Lewis was completely fantastic but released a fairly average and utterly un-groundbreaking debut filled with mediocre ballads only passable because of her astonishing vocals and finally little Leon Jackson who was quite underrated and released a very safe, and ultimately, very flop-worthy album.
Now I'm not maths genius, but I think that means the average X Factor Winner's Album has been generally quite poor.
So with that in mind, let's bring 2008 X Factor Winner Alexandra Burke and her debut album "Overcome" to the spotlight.
Our initial view of the album was her debut single `Bad Boys' featuring "legendary" rapper Flo-Rida. It wasn't, and isn't, the worst single ever; it's certainly better than Cheryl Cole's appalling solo debut; but it's also no `Bleeding Love'.
But what we can tell from the first single is that Alexandra means business. She isn't going to be another warbling princess like Leona, Shayne or Leon. Her fantastic pop is laced with American attitude and danger with a heavy baseline and stomping beat: the song even has a fully choreographed dance routine! Huzzar! A real pop star is born!
And if you liked her single; you are going to LOVE her album!
What you will notice immediately is her album is laced with amazing upbeat tracks. `Goodnight, Goodmorning' (featuring "legendary" rapper/R'n'B "superstar" Ne-Yo), `Broken Heels', `Dumb', `You Broke My Heart' and `Nothing But The Girl'. The influences behind these tracks are obvious; Rihanna, Beyoncé and maybe even Britney. What they don't attempt to do is replicate the aforementioned artistes music (*cough*Leona*cough*). These tracks are strong and independent, well produced and massively catchy!
`Broken Heels' is perhaps one of the best songs on the album; kicking off with a stunning baseline and amazing vocals. It's very Alesha Dixon, if Alesha Dixon was American. The song is impossible not to sing to, and it is also impossible not to dance to. And the lyrics? I'm glad you asked! "All the ladies tell the fellas we can do what they can do, we can do it even better in broken heels." Ouch!
`You Broke My Heart' is a fabulous track; quite big Big Band influences, a strong piano riff throughout and Alexandra's voice is glorious on this track. And whilst not a favourite of mine, I can appreciate the excellence of `Nothing But The Girl', a more R'n'B and dance influenced track, again with an amazing baseline and very "girl power" lyrics. It's fast and furious and would be a massive club hit.
As expected, the album is also rife with ballads; `The Silence', `Overcome', `Gotta Go' and `They Don't Know'. However, what is not expected is these ballads are not one of your two-a-penny-Leona-does-Mariah-does-Whitney affairs. They are stunning.
What makes them stunning is Alexandra's vocals. `Overcome' is powerful, with the standard big drums, big choir, big vocals chorus; but Alexandra is so passionate, so powerful and so beautifully deep-voiced it makes it hard not to tingle from head to foot whilst listening to. Equally, `They Don't Know' is a bluesy-pop affair which has me believing Alexandra should be recording an Ella Fitzgerald-esque album next. Moving, vocally stunning and gentle all the way through; the track is a massive success.
`The Silence' is one of the most stunning tracks on this album; soft and tender, emotional and touching, fragile but strong. It's awesome. The chorus is just beautiful: Alexandra sounds raw and exposed and powerful all at the same time, her voice breaking a bit as she belts out "so say you want me". My God, it's so much better than anything Leona could ever do!
Finally I have to mention my absolute most favourite track on the album. It's an up-tempo big-band-Jools Holland affair by the name of `Bury Me (6 Feet Under)'. If I were on the X Factor, I would perform this for Big Band Week (if `You Took Advantage of Me' didn't exist). I don't even know how to describe this song: it's odd, it's amazing, it's completely unexpected - it has no place on this album; it's proceeded by the big emotional ballad `The Silence' and succeeded by danceable musical amazingness `Broken Heels' but it doesn't matter; ultimately it is a fantastic song!
"Overcome" is a most pleasant musical surprise. There's a right assortment of tracks, all of which are wonderfully crafted, written and produced, but ultimately, it's her vocals which win!