Military wives choir favourites for Christmas No 1

Gareth Malone’s choir of military wives has become the bookies’ favourite for the Christmas number one, after edging ahead of The X Factor winner.

A flurry of bets has pushed the group’s single Wherever You Are into prime position, according to new figures issued by William Hill this morning.

They are releasing the track after winning fans during the BBC2 series The Choir: Military Wives.

The ensemble was put together and coached by choral maestro Gareth from the wives of serving military personnel, and went on to perform at this year’s Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall.

The choir has been backed by figures such as Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans, who has been urging listeners to support the single. And they will have the extra boost of an appearance on the Sunday results show for the Strictly Come Dancing semi-finals.

Hill’s placing it at 8/13 due to the volume of betting, with the eventual winner of The X Factor at 6/5.

Rupert Adams, a spokesman for the bookmaker, said: “This is sensational news as it takes a serious weight of money to move the market this much.”

The victor of the ITV1 singing contest has largely dominated the festive charts, although in 2009 a backlash prompted music fans to push Killing In The Name by Rage Against The Machine to the top instead of X Factor winner Joe McElderry.

Gennaro Castaldo, of retailer HMV, said of the choir’s single: “Based on the momentum that is building very quickly around it, we’re predicting that it will land this year’s Christmas number one.” He said the track was shaping up to be one of the company’s biggest pre-orders.

The CD of the single is being released by Decca Records on December 19.