Hillsborough single stars revealed
The X Factor looks to have bowed out of the traditional battle for the Christmas number one, which instead could be clinched by a Hillsborough charity single.
The winner of this year's ITV1 contest is understood to be releasing their track a week earlier than normal, which would avoid a head-to-head clash for the festive top spot, but could ensure the victor at least bags a chart-topper.
It comes as Sir Paul McCartney was added to the line up of the Hillsborough track, a cover of The Hollies' He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother, which also features Robbie Williams.
There has been an increasing backlash to the X Factor's Christmas chart domination, which has led to people buying other tracks in a bid to keep it off the top. Joe McElderry was denied the top of the charts in Christmas week in 2009 after an online campaign to get behind Rage Against The Machine with Killing In The Name.
And last year, Little Mix failed to get to the top in Christmas week as the Military Wives choir took the honours.
This year's X Factor final is expected to take place on December 9 and the winner's single would be available as a download just hours later. A CD version is then usually released midweek.
But as the focus tends to be on the week of release, sales may have dropped off in the following few days when other contenders hit the shops, including the Hillsborough track.
The early release would mean Simon Cowell's show could well claim a number one but would not have to face the embarrassment of missing out completely as the public snap up the charity track in Christmas week.
They will raise money to cover the legal costs of the families of the Liverpool supporters killed in the Hillsborough disaster in 1989. The acts gave their time for free to record the single, which will be released on December 17.