World of Chig   

No X for Xmas?

Dermot O'Leary made a surprising announcement tonight at the start of The X Factor. If it's true, it looks like the winner of this series won't be aiming for the Christmas Number One this year. He said the final takes place in four weeks' time, making it the 22nd of December and not the 15th; the date which would be necessary in order to register shop sales for the Christmas chart. (I thought there would be a double eviction soon, or the return of the three-act final, in order to cater for this.)

With Christmas Day on Tuesday 25th, the Christmas Number One will be announced on Sunday 23rd, meaning that an X Factor final on Saturday 22nd would have no impact at all, unless... unless...

Are they planning to take a massive gamble and release the winner's song as a download immediately after the programme? This would give two hours at the most for the song to outsell everything else from the last seven days before the midnight cut-off point for the chart week. However, if it sold at the same rate as Leona's download did in its first hour, it would be more than enough to top the charts.

Leona's single was released as a download after midnight last year, but it didn't matter because last year's final was on Saturday 16th December, giving a whole week of sales before she easily claimed the Christmas Number One on Christmas Eve.

If Dermot was right, this will add another twist to the annual race for the Christmas Number One, but he may be wrong. After all, last week he said the theme of today's show would be Motown, but that's been ditched in favour of love songs. Perhaps the X Factor people just don't know what they're doing?

This feeling will be heightened by the bemusing caption they put on screen tonight during Hope's travels back home. Did it really say, 'Sunderland, County of Durham'? For a start, it's called 'County Durham', not 'County of Durham'. More importantly, Sunderland isn't in it. It remains in the county called Tyne & Wear, unless I missed an announcement somewhere. A shocking mistake to make.

While I'm here... Rhydian gave a series-winning performance tonight, of one of my favourite songs ('Somewhere' from West Side Story), while Niki struggled with a few notes, especially near the start. I think Hope are in danger again tonight, after performing an unknown song (unless you're a Christina Aguilera fan), with some wavering vocals, despite what the judges said. (They can't hear a thing in the studio; we are in a much better position to hear the vocals on TV.) Surely Hope will be in the bottom two? However, it will probably be with Leon, in which case he may go, thereby keeping the girls in with a chance of winning, which is what some of the former contestants believe the programme-makers have wanted all along. (Ooh, it's a World of Chig exclusive!)

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