X Factor winner Alexandra Burke reveals how she and Beyoncé ‘blagged’ their epoch-defining duet
Alexandra Burke and Beyoncé “blagged” their iconic “Listen” duet, the X Factor winner has revealed in a new interview.
Appearing on Angela Scanlon’s BBC series, The Noughties, Burke recalled how the earth-shattering duet came about, revealing that Simon Cowell called her the day before the final to tell her: “Prepare yourself but we’ve got someone for you tomorrow… It’s Beyoncé.”
“I hope you can sleep tonight,” Burke recalled Cowell signing off, adding: “I don’t even know how I had a voice the next day.”
On the day of the final, Burke said they were given an hour to choose a song and rehearse it.
“We hadn’t picked the song yet,” she continued. “She walks in and she goes nice to meet you… I’m in tears, I’m just crying the whole time, then she starts crying… she’s like, ‘but we really need to practise the song’, and she goes, ‘I want you to sing my new single ‘If I Were a Boy’.”
Burke pulled a semi-Mariah, telling her “hero” Beyoncé that despite the song having been release two months prior, she didn’t know it.
“I don’t know that song, I’m really sorry,” she recalled saying. “I am a fan, but I don’t know that song.”
Burke suggested they sing “Listen” instead, as she had sung it on the show two weeks earlier.
Due to the lack of rehearsal time, Burke said, “we literally blagged it”.
Watching the video of her duet with Beyoncé back, she said you can see them holding each other’s hands and going “your turn, OK my turn, OK your turn”.
But it worked out for the best, because fans now call the performance the “best celeb duet ever”.
Talk about a cultural reset though pic.twitter.com/ZRqruOQCM3
— Wayne David (@WayneDavid81) December 22, 2020
“Listen” was sung by Beyoncé in the 2006 film Dreamgirls, which was based on the Broadway musical of the same name and is loosely based on the early career of The Supremes.
Alexandra Burke went on to win season five of The X Factor. Since that career-defining moment, she has been nominated for three BRIT Award, brought the phrase “elephant in the room” to the UK from the US, and has enjoyed a successful career in theatre.
In 2017, she returned to reality TV competition as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing. She made it to the final of the show, but was beaten by Scottish actor Joe McFadden.