'X-Factor' winner a 'dead cert' for Christmas No 1

The X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke already has the Christmas No 1 "in the bag", according to one of Britain's biggest music retailers.

The 20-year-old singer, who wowed millions of viewers in Saturday night's final, released her debut single "Hallelujah" for download today. HMV confirmed it was its fastest-selling download ever, and is predicting the Christmas No 1 is now a certainty.

Gennaro Castaldo from HMV said: "Alexandra will have the Christmas No 1 single in the bag even before her CD single officially hits the stores."

The biggest challenge for the festive top spot is likely to come from Peter Kay's alter-ego Geraldine McQueen, but bookmakers William Hill and Ladbrokes have both made Alexandra the clear favourite with odds of 1/5 and 1/8.

Ladbrokes spokesman Nick Weinberg said: "It's as close to a certainty as you're likely to find."