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The Betfair Contrarian explains why Cardle and Cowell can be stopped and why he's desperate to recover some funds....

The Contrarian is rarely wrong when it comes to reality TV, so was naturally feeling a little sheepish when Matt Cardle defied him by winning The X Factor. He never accepts defeat without a fight though, and is delighted to spot an opportunity to make back his money and much more besides - by opposing Cardle to be Christmas number one at 1.08. Here's why the singing painter will miss out...

Last year showed that Cowell can be stopped

Punters who are heavily swayed by where the money is going will look at the odds of 1.05 on Matt Cardle's single reaching number one and assume that it is a foregone conclusion, but last year's events suggest that would be a mistake. Then, the campaign to keep X Factor winner Joe McElderry off the top of the charts by getting people to buy Rage Against the Machine's Killing in the Name proved successful - ending a four year spell of festive domination for the show - and that was just as unexpected at the start of the week, when McElderry's The Climb traded at 1.17.

Facebook has spoken

Rage Against the Machine's ascent to number one was orchestrated by Facebook users and there is a well-supported attempt on the social networking juggernaut to engineer another huge upset. The single they are getting behind this year is The Trashmen's 1963 release Surfin' Bird, which returned to prominence two years ago after being the focal point of an episode of Family Guy, in which Peter Griffin obtained a copy of the track and brought it to everyone's attention. The bid to get it installed as the Christmas chart-topper is backed by a staggering 626,415 members of the site and it is already third according to early sales figures, a considerable achievement given that the media are only now picking up on its potential. They initially reported the Cage Against the Machine effort to outsell The X Factor with a cover of John Cage's silent number 4'33" as the main challenger. With more publicity to follow now that it is clear that Surfin' Bird is the chief rival, sales are certain to improve.

Surfin' Bird is a more viable contender

Word about the push to get Surfin' Bird to number one has spread slower than the Rage Against the Machine rally last year, in the mainstream media if not online at least, although it is arguably an even stronger challenger for top spot than Killing in the Name. It's an endearingly irritating novelty song in the same vein as some of the most memorable successes of years gone by - think Benny Hill (1971), Mr Blobby (1993) and Bob the Builder (2000). The Family Guy tie-in will help too because the show's popularity with teenagers and young adults surely makes it a more likely seller in those demographics than last year's more niche candidate. Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills has championed it and played it on his drive-time show.

Biffy Clyro fans are annoyed

As has been the case on all bar one occasion, The X Factor winner's song is a cover, but this time the ITV show's producers have really provoked fans of the original by changing the name of the Biffy Clyro hit they are using, from Many of Horror to When We Collide. The danger of angering advocates of other versions and the impact it can have on a chart battle was showcased two years ago when Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah cover was the second biggest seller behind Alexandra Burke's offering, kicking off the protest movement against X Factor Yuletide singles. There are over 40,000 Facebook users backing a campaign to get people to purchase the original instead and while that may not prove enough to shift more copies than Cardle (though it is currently destined for the top ten) it would mean fewer buyers for When We Collide, which would help the Surfin' Bird bid.

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