Is a late storm brewing for the Christmas number one slot?

The battle for Christmas number one used to be an utterly unpredictable affair back in the day, until the X Factor came along and changed the game.

Starting with Shayne Ward in 2005, Simon Cowell’s brainchild has produced seven Christmas chart toppers, and you can add an eighth to that list if you also include Girls Aloud from X Factor prequel PopStars:The Rivals in 2002.

This year’s winner, 17-year-old Louisa Johnson is the 6/4 joint-favourite to bag the coveted festive accolade with ‘Forever Young’.

The Essex singer faces a fight however from a mix of X Factor renegades and charity releases, plus a latecomer arriving fast on the outside.

The biggest mover in recent days has been grime artist Stormzy with ‘Shut Up’.

The 22-year-old Londoner wasn’t even in the running until he was thrust into the mix with a performance at the O2 Arena at Anthony Joshua’s fight with Dillian Whyte on Saturday night.

Now in the chase at 8/1, Stormzy would be the first grime artist to secure a Christmas number one and his video has over 14m viewings online.

The Croydon performer is keen to shut up (geddit?) the latest X Factor effort and has launched a campaign on Twitter to aid his chances.

At 7/1 is the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir with their mashup of ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’ and Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’.

There is recent success with Xmas charity releases, with the Military Wives in 2011 and the Justice Collective a year later bagging the top spot on December 25.

The Choir have hovered around 7/1 for the last two weeks, but it would only take one tweet to go viral before that price shortens rapidly.

You’ll have to be living under a rock to not know that this Christmas is all about Star Wars.

George Lucas’ new release is set to break box office records, and a campaign is underway to dominate the festive music scene too.

Taking (A New) hope from Rage Against the Machine’s success in 2009 to deny that year’s X Factor winner Joe McElderry the festive headlines, the Star Wars theme may face too much opposition to claim success this year, having slid from 7/1 to 12s.

But the real threat to Simon Cowell and Louisa Johnson this year is a little-known fellow called Justin Bieber.

From 6/1 on Sunday, the global superstar is now joint-favourite at 6/4.

The Canadian currently occupies the number one, number two and number six spots in the charts, with ‘LoveYourself’, ‘Sorry’ and ‘What do you mean’ respectively.

Bieber has never claimed a UK number one over the holidays, but if anyone is set to derail Simon Cowell and his X Factor juggernaut, it could well be this guy.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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