Can Rage Against the Machine compete with Joe McElderry?

Has the Facebook drive to thwart X Factor Joe McElderry's victory in the Christmas charts stalled? Or can Rage Against the Machine still grab a surprise festive number one?

Though a 17-year-old song by Rage Against the Machine took an early lead in the Christmas No 1 sweepstakes, the campaign against Joe McElderry's The Climb has been sideswiped – both by the X Factor winner's popularity, and by Facebook bugs. However, it appears RATM are still leading the way in the closest battle for the Christmas number one spot for some years.

Speaking to the Global Herald website, the founder of the Rage Against the Machine campaign said he was "concerned" about recent problems with the group's Facebook page. The site first disappeared on Sunday night, Jon Morter said, with a member of Facebook's "PR team" writing to tell him it was a "bug". "Later in the evening the group returned as normal, but now it's gone yet again," he said yesterday. The page is now back online. During its down-time, the group was not only inaccessible, but invisible to anyone searching the site.

Morter's campaign is simple and well-publicised : he and about 750,000 other people are calling for X Factor to be unseated from their residency at the top of the UK's Christmas charts. This year the reality TV golden boy is Joe McElderry, who 19 million people watched triumph in this week's season finale. But Morter and his confederates hate that stuff – and they're asking people to buy downloads of Rage Against the Machine's 1992 tirade, Killing in the Name, and to unseat Simon Cowell's new protege.

Rage Against the Machine soared to the top of the iTunes charts on Sunday night, when the Christmas charts race opened. A statement put out by the Official Charts Company this morning claims that Rage Against the Machine are still on top, holding on by a margin of around 10%. According to Official Charts Company managing director Martin Talbot: "This is shaping up to be a very exciting battle between two different records which have captured the nation's imagination. But, although Rage Against The Machine have started off in front, according to our initial sales estimates, there is no doubt that this tussle is far from over."

The UK Christmas No 1 will be announced on Sunday 20 December.

Contributor

Sean Michaels

The GuardianTramp

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