- Winners of the X Factor television show used to be very hot contenders for the Christmas Number 1 slot, but they have only succeeded in achieving that position twice in the last five years (Sam Bailey’s ‘Sykscraper’ in 2013 and Ben Haenow’s ‘Something I Need’ in 2014). This year's winner, Matt Terry, will be releasing the festive-themed When Christmas Comes Around, which has been written by Ed Sheeran in an effort to increase its chances of being Number 1.
- One Direction star Louis Tomlinson has emerged as a frontrunner for the festive top spot with his single Just Hold On, having delivered an emotional performance during the X Factor final just days after the death of his mum Johannah. Fans responded by sending the track to Number 1 of the ITunes chart in 36 countries, and bookies reckon there is a good chance he could stay there.
- Friends of Jo Cox is a group that has been established in memory of the late Labour politician Jo Cox, who was tragically killed in June of this year. The charity single will include contributions by several politicians and well-known musicians, including KT Tunstall, David Gray and Ricky Wilson of the Kaiser Chiefs. All proceeds from the sale of this single will go to the Jo Cox Foundation.
- The London Hospices Choir and Paul Carrack will be hoping to replicate the success of the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir, who had last year’s Christmas Number 1 with ‘A Bridge Over You’, by releasing their new version of 'The Living Years'. Carrack was the lead vocalist on the original version of that song by Mike and the Mechanics, and it enjoyed huge success around the world.
- Cruz Beckham is the 11-year-old son of David and Victoria, and has released a song called ‘If Everyday Was Christmas’. This is another charity single, with proceeds going to Make Some Noise, which is the Global Radio charity for children. Because this is Cruz Beckham’s debut song, he has no form to speak of, but it may be worth noting that he is being managed by Scooter Braun, who also manages Justin Bieber and several other big names.
- Other contenders for the Christmas Number 1 include the late Terry Wogan with 'The Floral Dance', which reached number 21 in the charts in 1978, Mariah Carey with 'All I Want For Christmas' (again), James Corden, Cliff Richard and many more.
Picking the Christmas Number 1 isn’t quite as challenging as predicting whether or not it will snow on Christmas Day, but it isn’t far off. The X Factor winner always used to be a very good bet in this market, and although the show doesn’t attract as many viewers as it did in its heyday, it still pulls in more than enough to give the winner a decent stab at success here.
Last year’s X Factor winner, Louisa Johnson, only managed to get to Number 9 for Christmas, but her song was released a week earlier than usual, and that may not have helped her. With Ed Sheeran writing the song that Matt Terry will release, it will gain support from Sheeran fans as well as fans of the artist who performs it.
For all of the above reasons, we think that the X Factor Winner is the strongest candidate to have the Christmas Number 1 single for 2016.
- Sports.net’s top tip: Matt Terry – 6/4
*Please note that odds may fluctuate in the run-up to Christmas.