This is going to divide readers, partly because lots of people, especially people of discernment and taste like you, hate the X Factor and love Leonard Cohen, and were offended by the one’s appropriation of the other’s song for the winner’s single in 2008. To those people, I apologise.
Personally, I love the X Factor, but in the years I’ve been watching the only two singers it’s produced whose voices sent shivers down my spine are Leona Lewis and Alexandra Burke, who won two years ago and went straight to number one that Christmas with her version of Hallelujah. I think Leona has the better voice, but whereas she is very pure and bright and clear, there’s something velvety and sexy and womanly about Alexandra. I imagine she could do anguish better than Leona can. And I do like a bit of anguished female vocal.
Anyway, I’ve chosen the live performance from that year’s X Factor final rather than the recorded single, because it’s such a nice change to see someone singing live and not screwing up. It certainly seems to be beyond the powers of this year’s contestants, although they sometimes turn it up a notch for the final, so perhaps I should reserve judgement until tomorrow night.