The winner of this year’s X Factor might be hampered in the race to score the Official Christmas Number 1 single, as the show finishes a week before the Christmas chart sales period.
According to reports, the show’s final is set to take place on December 9, and the winner’s single will be released digitally immediately after it airs on ITV. Only sales between Sunday, December 16 and Saturday, December 22 will be counted towards Christmas week charts, which will be revealed on Sunday, December 23.
The reality TV singing contest has dominated the Official Singles Chart at Christmas, with winners scoring five festive Number 1 singles over the last eight years. The only X Factor winners not to reach the Christmas Number 1 spot were Steve Brookstein's Against All Odds in 2004, Joe McElderry, whose cover of Miley Cyrus’ The Climb lost out to Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name following an anti-X Factor internet campaign started by rock fans Jon and Tracy Morter in 2009, and last year’s winners, Little Mix, whose cover of Damien Rice's Cannonball was released a week before the Christmas chart’s sale period, and lost out to The Military Wives Choir and Gareth Malone’s Wherever You Are when the 2011 Christmas Number 1 was revealed on Christmas Day.
"Last year, it meant that Little Mix's debut single Cannonball had its strongest week before the battle for festive Number 1 was underway - letting in The Military Wives with Wherever You Are,” said the Official Charts Company’s managing director Martin Talbot. "But with rumours that the X Factor winner's single is also due to be a charity single, that could help it sustain through a second week and right into Christmas - if they get the song and the charitable cause right."
The bookies’ favourite for the Official 2012 Christmas Number 1 is a cover of The Hollies’ 1969 hit He Ain’t Heavy… He’s My Brother, which will be released under the banner of The Hillsborough Tribute. Artists set to appear on the single include Melanie C, Robbie Williams, Paloma Faith, Richard Hawley, Mick Jones (The Clash), Peter Hooton (The Farm), Ren Harvieu, Dave McCabe (The Zutons), Paul Heaton (Beautiful South), John Power (Cast), Shane McGowan (The Pogues), Beverley Knight and Gerry Marsden (Gerry And The Pacemakers). All proceeds will go towards the legal costs of a fresh inquest into the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy, which led to the deaths of 96 people.
X Factor contestants Ella Handerson and Jahmene Douglas are in second and third place. Gabrielle Aplin’s cover of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s 1984 classic, The Power Of Love, is at Number 4, and Gareth Malone’s The Choir are currently at Number 5.
Who do you want to be this year's Official Christmas Number 1?