Alexandra Burke, the winner of the fifth series of British reality television show The X Factor, released a condensed cover version of the song as a prize for her victory. It reached the Christmas Number One spot on the United Kingdom charts on 21 December 2008.
The release of Burke's cover created interest in the previous versions of the song, including a Buckley fan campaign to take Buckley's cover to the top of the Christmas chart in order to deny Burke the top spot. The campaign was fuelled by Jeff Buckley fans' dislike of The X Factor's commercialism and the song's arrangement, as well as a desire by this contingent to introduce younger music fans to Buckley's version. Burke herself was not enamoured of the choice of song, remarking "It just didn’t do anything for me."
Burke's version broke a European sales record after selling over 105,000 digital downloads in just one day, breaking the previous record set by Leona Lewis. It sold 576,000 copies in its first week, becoming the fastest selling single released by a woman in the United Kingdom and the 2008 Christmas number one, while Buckley's cover charted at #2 and Cohen's original version at #36. On 28 December 2008, the UK Singles Chart listed Burke's version as the biggest selling single of the year, with NME announcing sales of over 1 million copies since its release. Burke's version is the 56th biggest selling single of all time in the United Kingdom.
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