X Factor winner Leon Jackson has grabbed the Christmas number one spot in Ireland.

Widely expected to top the UK charts tomorrow, the Scottish crooner's debut single When You Believe flew off the shelves in Ireland this week, knocking former X Factor winner Leona Lewis into second place.

Though a third consecutive X Factor Christmas number one is expected, the recent furore surrounding the Pogues' 1987 classic Fairytale of New York has seen the song make a late charge for the top spot.

BBC Radio 1 attempted to censor the song this week only to be forced into an embarrassing climb-down after thousands of people complained.

And it climbed to third in the Irish charts, pushing another former X Factor winner, Shayne Ward, into fourth.

Leon's cover of When You Believe - the 1998 Mariah Carey/Whitney Houston duet - was only officially released in stores on Monday, but fans have been able to download the ballad since his victory was announced on Saturday night.

On the strength of downloads alone, Leon is already the UK's best-selling single of the week, ahead of the current number one - a duet between Katie Melua and the late Eva Cassidy - and the biggest-selling single of the year, Bleeding Love from Leona.

The top ten singles in Ireland are: (last week in brackets)

1. (-) Leon Jackson: When You Believe
2. (1) Leona Lewis: Bleeding Love
3. (4) Pogues ft. Kirsty MacColl: Fairytale Of New York
4. (2) Shayne Ward: Breathless
5. (3) Timbaland feat. OneRepublic: Apologise
6. (7) Brendan Grace: The Safe Cross Code
7. (5) Westlife: Home
8. (6) Cascada: What Hurts The Most
9. (10) Soulja Boy: Crank That
10. (8) Mariah Carey: All I Want For Christmas Is You

22/12/2007 10:26:59