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Cowell struggles to fend off uncontrollable Rage

Rock group Rage Against The Machine's frontman Zach De La Rocha.
Rock group Rage Against The Machine's frontman Zach De La Rocha.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rage Against The Machine heading for UK Christmas number-one
  • 1992 song "Killing in the Name" set to beat Simon Cowell's latest protege
  • Paul McCartney says U.S. rock group chart success "would be funny"
RELATED TOPICS
  • Christmas
  • Simon Cowell

London, England (CNN) -- Simon Cowell's stranglehold on the British Christmas record charts looks as though it might be coming to an end.

The talent show judge's latest protege and winner of British TV talent show "The X Factor," Joe McElderry is currently lagging behind heavy-rock group Rage Against The Machine in the battle for the UK Christmas number-one slot.

With just over two days to go before the winner is announced, Rage Against The Machine's re-release of their 1992 song "Killing in the Name" is narrowly beating "The Climb," McElderry's cover of a Miley Cyrus hit.

The winner of "The X Factor" -- which Cowell produces and judges -- has held the top spot over the festive season in the UK for the past four years.

The popularity of the talent show -- this year's final was watched by around 20 million viewers -- has meant the race to the number-one slot in recent years has been, in effect, a non-contest because of the publicity the "X Factor" winner has enjoyed.

But a campaign on the social networking site "Facebook" to make the U.S. rock group number-one ahead of "The X Factor" winner has received massive support from the British record buying public who have been snapping up "Killing in the Name" in their thousands.

Whoever ends up on top of the UK charts this Christmas, the Rage/Cowell battle has enlivened what has become a rather dull and predictable procession to the top of the charts by the winner of the UK talent show.

In an appearance on BBC radio station "5 live" Thursday, Rage's front man Zach De La Rocha swore several times during a live performance, forcing the BBC to issue an apology to listeners.

And on Friday, Sir Paul McCartney, came out in support of the U.S. rock group, despite performing on the final show of "The X Factor" this year. Speaking to Sky News McCartney said: "It would be kind of funny if Rage Against The Machine got it."

Meanwhile, Simon Cowell has been raging against, well, just about anyone in defense of McElderry telling the UK tabloid newspaper "The Sun" that "musical snobs have ganged up against Joe." He also called the Facebook campaign "a huge hate mob" -- a claim which the Facebook group have denied.

All will be revealed this Sunday when the final UK singles chart before Christmas is announced. Will the talent judge be celebrating his fifth "Christmas Cowell" in a row or will he be overcome by Rage? We'll have to wait and see.