McElderry vs Rage Against the Machine: thank Cowell
Simon Cowell says X-Factor has done us all a favour - as an ungrateful public backs Rage Against the Machine for Christmas number one
More than 2,000 people turned out in South Shields yesterday to welcome home Joe McElderry, the local boy who won Simon Cowell's TV talent show the X-Factor at the weekend. But despite his hero’s welcome, the 18-year-old faces the fight of his week-long career to achieve what previous X-Factor winners have taken for granted: the UK Christmas No 1 spot.
The Facebook campaign to propel Killing in the Name by Los Angeles rock band Rage Against the Machine to the top of the festive chart now has 816,000 members. Despite expectations that the support of casual internet users would not translate into hard sales, the expletive-riddled anti-establishment anthem has sold 175,000 copies so far this week to 110,000 for McElderry’s single, a cover of The Climb by Miley Cyrus.
Now the BBC's Radio 1 and 6 Music have latched onto the Facebook campaign and have been playing the 1992 single Killing in the Name - admittedly minus the song's closing refrain, in which the band's singer Zack de la Rocha (above) screams "Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me" repeatedly before climaxing with one final "mother fucker" for good measure.
Rage Against the Machine's guitarist, Tom Morello (above, background), told 6 Music that the band will give part of the proceeds from their unexpected windfall to charity. He said support for the song was heartwarming: "The one thing about the X Factor show, much like our own American Idol, is if you're a viewer of the show you get to vote for one contestant or the other, but you don't really get to vote against the show itself until now."
Cowell, meanwhile, who has already described the campaign against his protégé McElderry as "cynical", has now claimed he should be thanked for injecting life into the Christmas chart.
"I think we all have this belief that the Christmas number one was just amazing, a real special occasion," he told music magazine NME, "but actually when you look at them over recent years, it was Bob the Builder one year, Mr Blobby... there's a tradition of quite horrible songs. "I think I've done everyone a favour," he added.
Unfortunately for Cowell, Conservative leader David Cameron has definitely not done him a favour, after yesterday giving his backing to McElderry: "I'm going to go soft and go for Joe - nice boy," he said. ·
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