In 2006, Leona Lewis won the third season of The X Factor at the tender age of 21. Leona returned to the stage that brought her fame, elevating her signature pop ballads to new heights, after sweeping the UK charts with her singles “A Moment Like This” and “Bleeding Love,” the latter of which remained at #1 for seven weeks in a row.

Before her official cover single, “Run” by Snow Patrol, came out in November of 2008, Leona covered the song live for this mystical performance in 2008. The performance is flawless in every way; Leona lets her abilities simmer in the verses before bursting into a final chorus that captivates the crowd and the four judges, earning her a standing ovation.

By now, Leona had mastered the game; she had breezed through The X Factor, cementing Series 3’s place in UK history as one of the most memorable. With the No. 1 status achieved by her second single “Bleeding Love” in 35 countries, Leona Lewis became the first genuine icon and success story to emerge from The X Factor.

She has received a long number of honors. The pop artist Leona earned a MOBO Award that same year for Spirit, her first album—which is still the best-selling debut record by a female singer even after 15 years—and her historic X Factor performance of Run. Leona has received a plethora of accolades during her career, including seven Brit Awards, three Grammys, six MTV Europe Music Awards (where she has won twice), and three MOBOs.

Leona Lewis is both an iconic vocalist and a symbol of the glory days of UK talent competitions, even though sales of her subsequent albums dropped. She honed her ethereal pop vocals at London’s BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology, where she studied classical voice alongside stars like Adele, Amy Winehouse, and Jessie J. Known as a “vocal powerhouse,” Leona’s soul-stirring vocal range brings fire and sweetness to every power ballad she performs. The fantastical rendition of “Run” by Leona on The X Factor, which garnered 19 million views on YouTube and immense, global adulation, is a prime example.

Even after putting her music career on hiatus, Leona has had an incredible influence. The celebrity moved to the United States in 2023 to give her vegan café, Coffee and Plants, a new lease on life, and she was awarded an OBE that same year for her charitable and musical contributions. A star who goes with her gut and encourages women all over the world to grab opportunities as they come, this YouTuber has over 1.5 million subscribers, over 1 billion views across her channel, and just under 1 million Instagram followers.