ALEXANDRA BURKE is packing her suitcase for a month-long stint in Glasgow as she speaks to The Sunday Post.
The former X Factor winner, Strictly finalist and musical theatre star is spending the month of December in the city and her worst fears over the weather are confirmed when I tell her it’s likely to be a fair bit colder in Glasgow than she’s used to in London.
“My suitcase is pretty much full of jumpers,” she laughs, “so I think I’ve made the right choice.”
Alexandra is returning to the role that made her name in musical theatre, playing Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard, a part made famous by Whitney Houston in the 1992 film.
It’s in the Theatre Royal from tomorrow until December 29, meaning the 30-year-old will be spending the festive season in Scotland.
“I had every intention to come back to London for Christmas, as I have Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day off, but we’ve changed our plans,” she reveals.
“My fiancé is driving us to Glasgow and we decided my family would come to us.
“My tree was waiting for me at the theatre and I’m trying to be as organised as I can, to make the place we are staying feel as much like home as possible.”
This year marks a decade since Alexandra shot to the top with her winning performance on X Factor.
She had previously been on the show in 2005 and made it to the final seven of the 16-24 age group category, but judge Louis Walsh failed to advance her to the next stage, feeling she was too young.
But Alexandra won the 2008 competition with 58% of the vote and enjoyed the Christmas No. 1 with a cover of Leonard Cohen’s classic, Hallelujah.
Her debut album, Overcome, went double platinum in the UK, also reaching the top spot.
Five years later, she was asked to audition for The Bodyguard and earned rave reviews in the role.
With a list of classic songs including Queen Of The Night, So Emotional, One Moment In Time, Saving All My Love, I Wanna Dance With Somebody and the show-stopping I Will Always Love You, Alexandra is able to show off her vocal ability each show.
The story sees her character, a superstar singer, fall in love with the former secret service agent hired to protect her from an unknown stalker.
With Glasgow the first date of the new tour, she’s looking forward to stepping back into Rachel’s shoes, but feels it will be much different this time around.
“It’s great to be back, but a lot has changed and it’s scarier than the first time,” she admits.
“This was my first role and the tour was a major success.
“I’m excited to take what I’ve learned from the other shows, like Chess and Sister Act, and put it back into this role.
“I was only 26 the first time I played Rachel and now I’m 30, so I have a different view of Rachel.
“I just want people to see my growth as an actress.”
While admitting The Bodyguard holds a special place in her heart, she expects this tour – which extends to late summer next year – is likely to be her last in theatre for a while.
“I love doing what I do, but at the end of this it will have been five years and I really want to go back into music, that’s where my heart is,” she continues.
“I want to give it my full attention and opportunities come around and you can never say never, but I hope to have an album out in 2020.”
She did release her third album last March, with The Truth Is reaching the top 20.
It was part of a packed schedule since reaching the final of Strictly last Christmas, 12 months that also included West End stints in Chess, opposite Michael Ball, and Chicago alongside Martin Kemp.
“Chess was unexpected,” she says. “The album promotion had to be put on hold because I just couldn’t turn Chess down.
“It’s been a really good year.”
But she’s still had time to catch up with the latest series of Strictly.
“I was there last Saturday in the audience, which was really good fun,” she adds. “It’s good to support those taking part.
“My top three picks are Joe Sugg, Stacey Dooley and Faye Tozer.”
The Bodyguard, Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Mon, until Dec 29