NOT so very long ago Alexandra Burke was trembling wide-eyed on the X Factor stage, stunned to be singing alongside R&B superstar Beyonce Knowles.
At Sheffield City Hall on Tuesday night, Alexandra had the command of her own stage, the confident hip-wiggling big-hair-flicking moves of Mrs Jay-Z herself – and an excited audience including her mum Melissa Bell and celebrity choreographer Sisco Gomez eating out of the palm of her hand.
A fierce attitude, a medley of Destiny’s Child hits, and a powerful version of Listen – the emotional ballad from the soundtrack to movie Dreamgirls – showcased Alexandra as a credible British answer to her US heroine. And a high-energy, high-octane evening of belted-out ballads and catchy dance hits got fans up on their feet, clapping their hands, and – at Alexandra’s frequent insistence – “making some noise”.
She dressed in glittering gold for Broken Heels, floated in white against a backdrop of flickering candles for Hallelujah – the winner’s song which saw her crowned X Factor victor in 2008 – and pulled on a red-sequinned baseball cap for first single Bad Boys, her show’s encore.
Afterwards the 22-year-old headed straight to her BlackBerry to tweet messages of gratitude to her followers and fans on Twitter.
“Wooow! Sheffield!!!! I got too emotional on that stage! Thank you for giving me LIFE!!!” she tweeted, followed shortly afterwards by: “Thank you Sheffield for an amazing night! xx.”