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Facebook group 1, Simon Cowell 0

A Facebook group formed to ensure a Simon Cowell reality show product doesn't become Britain's No. 1 persuades more people to buy an old song by Rage Against the Machine.

It's an odd tradition. Well, it is Britain, where they have a talent for clutching traditions like Posh Spice clutches many things with a D&G logo.

The particular tradition that fascinates at this time of year consists of really caring about which song is the best seller at Christmas.

Once upon a time, some of the greatest music ever composed was Britain's Christmas No. 1. Yes, Slade's "Merry Christmas Everybody," Mud's "Lonely This Christmas," and the slightly less melodic "Another Brick In The Wall (Part 2)" by Pink Floyd.

In recent times, Simon Cowell, a man with more tentacles than T-shirts, has timed one of his reality talent shows to coincide with the Christmas period.

No sooner is the winner announced than he or she has a song that is then downloaded beyond distraction straight to the top of something that is still quaintly called the Singles Chart. (Recent examples include the stunning Leon Jackson and Alexandra Burke.)

This year, Londoners Jon and Tracy Morter decided that something must be done. So they created a Facebook group, Rage Against the Machine for Christmas No. 1.

Sentiment in the snowy English shires was clearly strong. Because around 1 million people declared their belief in the cause. And Sunday it was announced to huge acclaim that the Facebookers had got their way. The Rage Against the Machine song, so CNN tells us, "Killing in the Name," is the No. 1 Christmas single.

It is not easy to defeat the intentions of Cowell. He is the man who dominates "American Idol" rather beautifully and the man who brought Susan Boyle to the world's attention through yet another pulsating show called "Britain's Got Talent." He is also the man who created "The X-Factor," another talent show designed to create instant fodder for Christmas. (Oh, of course it's coming to the U.S., did you have to ask?)

The Morters claimed on the Facebook group's page that the campaign was not remotely personal. Some might think this not entirely true, as the Guardian tells us that when they launched the group they said: "Fed up of Simon Cowell's latest karaoke act being Christmas No. 1? Me too."

Cowell, for his part, told a press conference that the Facebook campaign was "stupid" and "cynical."

You might be wondering why the Morters chose Rage Against the Machine. Well, Jon Morter told "It's been taken on by thousands in the group as a defiance to Simon Cowell's 'music machine'. Some certainly do see it as a direct response to him personally."

So one machine has defeated another in the place where they always tell us the Industrial Revolution began. It's a touching Christmas story, isn't it?