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LEONA'S THE DIVA OF DOWNLOADS; X Factor winner is record-breaker.

Byline: By Karen Bale

X FACTOR winner Leona Lewis has smashed the world record for the fastest-selling download single.

The 21-year-old star sold an incredible 50,000 copies of her debut, A Moment Like This, in just half an hour after its release at midnight on Saturday.

She has sold an estimated 200,000 copies on download alone - beating Gnarls Barkley's smash-hit Crazy.

And by midweek sales of her single, a cover of American Idol star Kelly Clarkson's debut song, are expected to hit a million.

Last night, Leona said: "It's unbelievable. I feel the dream I've been dreaming since I was a little girl has come true."

Bookies have closed betting on Leona making the Christmas No1 - as she has already sold enough records to guarantee she will top the festive charts.

Londoner Leona, who beat rival Ray Quinn, 18, in Saturday's final to clinch her pounds 1million record deal, added: "There were points I thought, 'You know what, I don't know if this is going to happen'.

"But with the help from my friends and my family, they all kept telling me to believe in myself and keep on doing it."

Leona was also the first woman to win The X Factor and is set to become the richest star discovered on a reality TV show.

After Leona's win, mentor Simon Cowell said he was the "proudest man in the world".

And he is now hoping she will conquer America.

An incredible 12.6million viewers tuned in to Saturday's final - 1.2million more than last year - and an astonishing eight million votes were cast.

The final trounced the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing by pulling in a 56 per cent share of the TV audience.

Leona thrilled viewers with her rendition of Whitney Houston's hit I Will Always Love You.

She also impressed fans by dueting with chart-toppers Take That to sing classic ballad A Million Love Songs.

This was followed by her version of Celine Dion's Bridget Jones theme All By Myself.

The two finalists finished off with their versions of the single, A Moment Like This.

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INSTANT HIT: Leona Lewis
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Dec 18, 2006
Words:355
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