Alexandra Burke, Union Chapel, London

4.00

Sitting in the pews of the beautiful Grade II-listed Union Chapel, the drama of The X Factor could not seem further away. Yet, as the country remains gripped in the weekly twists and turns of Simon Cowell's singing competition, this 19th-century chapel is tonight the venue for the first proper headline show from Alexandra Burke, last year's victor.

With a number one album and two number one singles achieved since defeating JLS and Eoghan Quigg in last December's final, 2009 has treated Burke well, and this appearance as part of the Little Noise Sessions – a series of stripped-down concerts for the charity Mencap – is a further sign that she is developing into a fully fledged star in her own right.

Tonight's show begins with VV Brown, and her impressive voice works well with her acoustic backing. She is followed by Alphabeat, and the Danes' infectious Europop can't help but put a smile on the faces of the crowd.

If any of the current X Factor finalists had been in the audience they would have had some interesting points to ponder. With only a matter of weeks left in the competition, it may be time to start considering what kind of winner this year will produce – is there a Leona Lewis left in the remaining acts, or are they a bunch of Shayne Wards and Steve Brooksteins? From the moment Burke launches into "They Don't Know", it is clear that her voice sets her firmly in the former camp. Born and raised in Islington, this is very much a home gig for the 21-year-old, and during the song she acknowledges the presence in the audience of her mother, brother and father.

She is a natural with the crowd and really seems to feel the emotion, welling up after "The Silence". For the most part she sings to a backing tape, accompanied by two male vocalists, and although it would have been interesting to see her perform with a band, it does mean the focus is on her voice. For her rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah", she is joined by an acoustic guitarist, and as a result, the subsequent version is a measurable improvement on the single she released.

She finishes with the incredibly catchy "Bad Boys", which starts off as a slow, stripped-down reimagining before launching into its usual form. She leaves the audience mightily impressed. This year's X Factor hopefuls have quite an act to follow.

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones