ALEXANDRA Burke won't be channelling her inner Whoopi Goldberg when she sings Hallelujah in Sister Act in Southampton next week, despite playing the role made famous by one of her heroes.

The X Factor 2008 winner, who shot to the top of the charts with winners song Hallelujah, the biggest selling single of 2008 and Christmas Number One, is to star as the tale of sisterhood returns.

"It's a real favourite of mine and a favourite of a lot of people," said the three time BRIT nominee. "Saying that, I haven't seen the film in a very long time. I deliberately didn't watch the film once I'd got this part. I didn't want to copy anything Whoopi Goldberg did, which is so difficult with iconic roles like this. I wanted to really crack the role and be as original as I can, even though Whoopi has always been a big inspiration to me.

"I would say my Deloris is very bold and a little bit divaish when she meets the nuns in the convent. But she has a big heart and once she realises that love conquers all, she's the heart of the show.

"It's very different to what I've done before and I didn't think I'd be suited to it because of the comedy, but once I'd seen the script, I changed my mind. It's really challenging, but Craig is happy, so I am."

The Craig she is referring to is director and choreographer Craig Revel Horwood who she says is nothing like his touch and cutting Strictly Come Dancing judge persona in real life.

"He's got the biggest heart," continues the 28-year-old soul singer turned musical theatre star.

"He's a lovely warm person and he says the word darling a lot! No pun intended, but he's very strict when he's in the room directing, but he's a lot of fun as well."

Alexandra and Craig will be returning to Mayflower Theatre to tell the hilarious tale of Deloris Van Cartier, a disco diva whose life takes an unexpected turn when she witnesses a murder.

Under protective custody she is hidden in the one place she won’t be found – a convent. Disguised as a nun and under the watch of Mother Superior, Deloris helps her fellow sisters find their voices and she unexpectedly discovers her own.

Other than a one night date at the Concorde Club with her solo show last summer, it's the first time she will be back in Southampton since opening The Bodyguard at Mayflower Theatre in January 2015. Alexandra received rave reviews for her tour de force portrayal of superstar Rachel Marron who falls in love with the former secret service agent hired to protect her and her family from a stalker and is keen to stay in Southampton again after enjoying her stint in Ocean Village.

"It's a beautiful theatre and I had a wonderful time staying in Southampton. It was a great place to be. I loved going shopping and waking up to the sight of lots of boats."

It will be back to her music for the girl dubbed the British Beyonce once the Sister Act tour is finished. But she doesn't rule out a return to musical theatre in future - for the right role.

"Never say never because I didn't think I'd be doing theatre right now. I've loved doing The Bodyguard and now this show, but my music will always be my priority. But, if a great role comes along, I will of course look at my options and see how I can better myself as an actress.

"I'm not sure about theatre, but the TV show I'd drop everything for is Empire which Naomi Campbell is in. I love it, it's such a great show."

For now though, it's back to her first love.

"I'm making a new album, my third. I've been doing bits and pieces and and I'm hoping to get it finished in the next couple of months. I've been planning on recording for a couple of years, but with six or seven shows a week, it's difficult to find the time to rest and record.

"I've had a great time since coming off the show (X Factor). I've worked really hard and enjoyed what I've done. Here's to many more years!"

Sister Act is at Mayflower Theatre from Tuesday until June 17. Tickets: 023 8071 1811 or