With the 2017 version of the X Factor in full swing, we take a look back at the infamous battle for the 2009 Christmas Number One. This was where a Facebook campaign set up by a husband and wife team resulted in the toppling of the X Factor, ending their stranglehold on the Christmas Number One. Their campaign resulted in ‘Rage Against the Machine’ securing the coveted Christmas Number One. Many lauded the result as a victory for music. So, what was the full story behind this? Read on to find out!
The year is 2009, the X Factor is still a relatively new show (founded in 2004), and Gordon Brown is still the Prime Minister. For all musicians, achieving the Christmas Number One is something to aspire towards. However all Christmas Number One’s since 2005 had belonged to X Factor winners. This was facilitated by the X Factor’s strategic release of the winner’s single. It appeared that no one can stop them. That is, until husband and wife team Jon and Tracy Morter took matters into their own hands.
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The duo launched a Facebook campaign to try and stop the X Factor winner automatically gaining the Number One spot. The campaign was able to secure profound interest and publicity. Not only did the campaign attract membership of 950,000 patrons, but a range of stars and entities from the music industry threw their weight behind the campaign. Paul McCartney, the Stereophonics and the likes of BBC Radio 1 and NME supported the campaign.
Perhaps most tellingly, 2004 X Factor winner Steve Brookstein, clearly not bitter at all about his sacking, was among the most vocal supporters. Soul-singer Brookstein won the inaugural version of the X Factor in 2004. All of this support clearly swayed the public, with ‘Killing in the Name’ securing the Christmas Number One spot, ahead of X Factor winner Joe McElderry.
So there we have it, an example of how no one is too big to take on. The X Factor relinquished their control of the Christmas Number One following this campaign, which succeeded impressively. While since the X Factor have had various number one’s at Christmas, they have failed to achieve the success that was seen from 2005 to 2008. This could easily be attributed to the knock-on effects of the 2009 campaign. We will have to wait and see how the X Factor fares this year!