Cowell sees off his critics to secure Christmas No 1

Unlike last year, the 'X Factor' producer had so many rivals that the way ahead was clear

His army of detractors may accuse him of many things, but most concede Simon Cowell is made to look a fool only once. After his embarrassment last year, when his attempts to dominate the Christmas No 1 spot were thwarted, the X Factor producer and his protege, Matt Cardle, look set to top the singles chart today.

The internet campaigns aimed at stopping the 27-year-old decorator appear to have failed. The difference this year is simple: a credible song, 'When We Collide', sung by a likeable singer who can actually play an instrument. The challenge to Cardle seems to have been weakened by the disparate novelty challengers this year, compared with last year's campaign around Rage Against the Machine's "Killing in the Name".

Nevertheless, the anti-Cowell campaigners refuse to give up. The biggest threat to Cowell and Cardle is from the Scottish rockers Biffy Clyro, who wrote Cardle's hit – originally titled "Many of Horror". Biffy's fans have begun a Facebook campaign to get their version to No 1. The most recent chart figures show the band had sold enough to make the top 10.

Here the IoS weighs up its chances, along with the other Christmas No 1 contenders.

'Simon Carol'

Simon Cowell lookalike Simon Carol (real name Andy Monk) is challenging the music mogul with his "A Christmas Cowell". He is joined by the lookalike Chippendoubles, who were on Britain's Got Talent. Proceeds go to the charity CLIC Sargent.

Gio Compario

The front man for the annoying TV insurance adverts is releasing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town". The Welsh tenor Wynne Evans plays Gio Compario and sings the catchy tune, with 25p from each download going to the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Corey Taylor

Slipknot's heavy metal front man is giving The X Factor a run for its money with the release of his single "X-M@$", recorded for people who don't like Christmas in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust. Listen out for "Hi, Simon", directed at Mr Cowell.

Biffy Clyro

The Scottish rock band could, just, beat the X Factor winner, Matt Cardle, who is covering their song, to the festive top spot. Fans have set up a Facebook page to propel their original track, "Many of Horror", to No 1.

The Florin Street Band

Jamie Oliver is backing his childhood friend Leigh Haggerwood's bid for the top spot with their traditional-style song "My Favourite Time of the Year".

Cage Against the Machine

A Facebook campaign hopes to repeat Rage Against the Machine's success last year in beating The X Factor. Proceeds from this recording of John Cage's 4'33" go to five music-related charities.

Birdman Jack

The RSPB and Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills are backing a member of the public, Birdman Jack, to get "The Trashmen's Surfin' Bird" to No 1. Charity staff throw some interesting shapes on the video in support of the single.

Gamu Nhengu

Her X Factor exit caused outrage. Now she is singing with a choir for a Scottish charity, Aberlour, "Where Will You Sleep This Christmas?". It was revealed in Parliament that her X Factor contract bans Gamu from promoting this track.

Cliff Richard

His fans have mounted a campaign to get people to download his song "Little Town" between 13 and 18 December, to push it to the top of the charts. Sir Cliff, who has three Christmas No 1s to his name, is donating download royalties to the Alzheimer's Research Trust.

Rihanna

After performing a duet with the X Factor winner during the final, the singer is now vying with Matt Cardle for the Christmas No 1. She is hoping her single "What's My Name" comes up trumps in the chart battle.

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