Rockers The Darkness and Gary Jules look set to beat Pop Idol contestants for the coveted Christmas No.1 in the British charts.

The former favourite for the top spot - the IDOLS from TV show POP IDOL and their cover of John Lennon + Yoko Ono's HAPPY XMAS (WAR IS OVER) - has slumped to fifth place in the race, according to sales figures.

English quartet The Darkness are tipped for the top with the single CHRISTMAS TIME (DON'T LET THE BELLS END), just ahead of Jules and his cover of TEARS FOR FEARS' MAD WORLD, which featured on the soundtrack to hit movie Donnie Darko.

A spokesman for British music store HMV says, "The Darkness and Gary Jules are so close - only a couple of thousand sales separate them.

"Jules has come out of nowhere and it could be that The Darkness had a lot of early sales but can't sustain them. Jules is the dark horse in this race and he could well do it."

17/12/2003 02:07