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Last Updated: Friday, 9 February 2007, 12:14 GMT
X Factor winner in US record deal
Leona Lewis
Leona Lewis used to work as a receptionist before she found fame
X Factor winner Leona Lewis has signed a 5m ($9.7m) record deal in the US, with the man who discovered singer Whitney Houston.

Clive Davis, 74, is also a mentor to Alicia Keys and Justin Timberlake.

Lewis, 21, said: "I am just overwhelmed. I can't believe everything has happened so fast, from winning the X Factor to coming to LA."

Her manager Simon Cowell said: "We'll do everything in our power to make her an international star."

Best single

The X factor judge and mentor on the ITV show claims she is the "best" contestant they have ever had on.

"I've always said that she is the next Whitney Houston, and I believe it," he added.

The deal will see the former receptionist release five albums.

Lewis performed in front of the cream of the US record industry on Wednesday at the Beverley Hilton Hotel.

Simon Cowell
Simon Cowell mentored Lewis on the X Factor

One music executive who watched her said: "It's like hearing the love child of Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey."

Lewis, who has been nominated for best single at next week's Brit awards, is due to start recording her album in April.

A spokeswoman for Cowell said: "The plan is to take time and produce an album which has global reach."

Lewis scored the Christmas number one with her single A Moment Like This after beating fellow X Factor finalist Ray Quinn in the ITV talent show.

The track sold almost 100,000 downloads in just two days.

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