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Connector of the Day: Jon Morter

December 21st, 2009
05:55 PM ET

So the predictable procession towards the coronation of the latest Simon Cowell product has been halted. And all thanks to a couple from the county of Essex in the southeast of England. [cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/21/rage2.art.jpg caption ="Rage Against The Machine have triumphed over Simon Cowell thanks to a couple from Essex. "]

The talent show “The X Factor” has become a huge ratings hit on UK TV over the past five years and every winner has so far been guaranteed the number-one slot at Christmas on the back of the support the show receives.

But not this time. 35-year-old Jon Morter and his wife Tracey mobilized a campaign on the social networking Web site Facebook which successfully stopped this year's “X Factor” winner Joe McElderry winning the race to the coveted Christmas number-one in the singles chart.

Morter started his campaign to oust what he described as “Simon Cowell’s latest karaoke act” barely two weeks ago, but it clearly resonated with music fans around the world.

The choice of U.S. rock group Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In The Name” was the antithesis of the carefully groomed, over-produced release of the “X Factor” winner.

“No one’s got a divine right to be Christmas number-one and I think we’ve proved that,” Morter told UK tabloid newspaper “The Sun.”

Despite losing out to Morter, Cowell was gracious in defeat congratulating the Essex couple for making it “a very exciting race.”

Morter, a part-time DJ, is a massive fan of Rage Against The Machine. He tried a similar "X Factor" spoiler stunt last year by trying to get Rick Astley to the Christmas top spot but ultimately lost out to 2008 “X Factor” winner Alexandra Burke.

Jon Morter is Monday’s Connector of the Day. Send your questions to him now and we’ll put a selection of the best to Cowell’s conqueror on tonight’s show.

soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Jessica

    Hi Jon, While I like in theory what you did, do you think the rage against the machine song sends the right message to people at christmas time?

    December 21, 2009 at 6:22 pm | Reply
  2. Roger

    There couldn't be a better song or better band to be represented this Christmas! Have you been paying attention to the news lately? Or even checked out the economy and the shenanigans on wall street?

    December 21, 2009 at 6:33 pm | Reply
  3. Mark-USA

    Whoever denies that Cowell finds quality performers has their head in the sand. In this day & age ANYBODY that is promoting the performing arts should be applauded.

    December 21, 2009 at 6:38 pm | Reply
  4. Colleen

    Hi Jon,
    While I love what you did, (in essence silencing the sheep) I have to wonder why you did not pick a British Band for the number one spot.
    As I am a Canadian, and a Rage Against the Machine fan, it does not matter to me, but I would have thought you would have gone for a true blue British band to silence the lambs!
    Good on ya,
    Colleen, BC Canada

    December 21, 2009 at 7:02 pm | Reply
  5. Richard - Manchester, England

    A lot of the people I know who bought the Rage Against The Machine song didn't actually like it – they just bought it on principle.. Doesn't this defeat the purpose of the Christmas Number 1, which is to record which song is most popular in the run-up to Christmas?

    December 21, 2009 at 7:04 pm | Reply
  6. Antoine

    Rage Against the Machine “Killing In The Name” song is a great way to remind UK and American people that they are currently waging wars in 3 countries while comfortably celebrating Christmas at home.

    December 21, 2009 at 7:07 pm | Reply
  7. Mark London

    People revolted against Simon Cowell telling them what to buy but then went ahead and bought what Jon Morter told them to??? Human race never ceases to amaze me. Happy to see Cowell knocked off his smug peg though.

    December 21, 2009 at 7:11 pm | Reply
  8. Aaron

    Jessica,
    have you listened to the song? It's an anti racism song, it's a far better message to be spreading at Christmas than the message being sent out by the X Factor, who seem to think they own the music charts in the UK and Ireland.

    December 21, 2009 at 7:14 pm | Reply
  9. Mark-USA

    Aaron,

    I dig the song but I'm not sure if the bridge is what I want to hear from carolers.

    December 21, 2009 at 7:22 pm | Reply
  10. Rosenrot

    Hi Jon, do you think the UK music scene will change after this campaign, and if so where would you like to see it going?

    December 21, 2009 at 7:39 pm | Reply
  11. barnaby

    Perfect choice of song.
    With lyrics like these: "%#$@ you I won't do what you tell me".

    Brilliant!

    December 21, 2009 at 7:42 pm | Reply
  12. chris rage renton

    Question to

    Jon what was going through your mind during thefinal run up and how do you fell about being a household name now ?

    December 21, 2009 at 7:47 pm | Reply
  13. Graham

    @Mark I don't disagree with your point about Cowell finding quality performers, but thats all they are, performers. They don't write their own music, and it is in the writing of music, the sharing of your own feelings and emotions that music truly becomes an art.

    Cowell provides entertainers, Rage Against the Machine and others that produce orgional material are artists, and personally, I prefer the art than the recycled performances.

    For that reason I don't feel Cowell supports the performing arts like you claim, he is all about short cuts.

    December 21, 2009 at 7:50 pm | Reply
  14. Alex - Leicestershire, UK

    I think a lot of the criticisms directed at this campaign have missed the central point of what we have been trying to do. This has been a protest; we didn't do this because we simply liked the Rage song better than the alternative, or because we thought it was fitting for Christmas. We did it to send a message to the industry bigwigs, and make it clear for all to see that we are not happy with drab, manufactured, made-for-TV pop dominating the UK charts. Denying the biggest of these pop machines (X-Factor) the prestige of Christmas No.1 (which it has come to take for granted) seemed to be an excellent way of doing this, and the Rage song was chosen not for its Christmas vibe (obviously!) or for its own intrinsic merit, but for what the band, and certain of the song's lyrics, symbolise within the context of this debate.

    December 21, 2009 at 7:55 pm | Reply
  15. Mark-USA

    Graham,
    Point taken but I will offer two thoughts: Nothing says that the performers on these shows can't write, the competitions are just not set up to feature or reward original compositions. Also, your point, if taken literally, would indicate that neither Sir Laurence Olivier, Sidney Poitier or Jack Nicholson are 'artists', just performers. I would dispute that. (ok, I might give you Nicholson)

    December 21, 2009 at 8:07 pm | Reply
  16. Bobby

    Graham, you hit the nail squarely on the head. Simon produces glorified Karaoke. I would argue he has done far more damage than good for artists and musicians. He could have done anything and made it work. He could have provided an amazing platform for original artists to show off their original songs and music. Wouldn't that have been a far better show to anyone who truly loves music? Instead we get to see who was born with a good voice and who can dress the sharpest. What an enormous missed oportunity.

    December 21, 2009 at 8:16 pm | Reply
  17. Kenbobblehead

    Zach de La Rocha has got to be happy to hear that this song which is nearly 18 years old beat out Simon.

    December 21, 2009 at 8:26 pm | Reply
  18. Kodds

    Totally appropriate. We as a civilization need to take the blinders off
    and get outraged publicly about something.
    The Info-tainment generation is losing the ability to think.
    The common person has been bamboozeled by everyone, bankers, politicians, professional athletes, entertainers, everyone.
    I understand that Christmas is a time to focus on the good,
    but with so much bad that has happened, something has got to change no matter what holiday is around the corner.
    WAR Simon Cowell!

    December 21, 2009 at 8:34 pm | Reply
  19. Liam

    I agree with Mark (USA). The show is there to find talent and that is what they found in Joe, Leona, Shayne etc. Leona is active in the development of her music. It's fair game on this show, not creating a damaging political campaign to hurt people just to make a point because you don't think its fair. Grow up. As for the protest and missing the point of what you were trying to do. Why not protest in front of Sony directly, but instead you got a kid involved ,that basically you crushed him for no other reason, that he was in the wrong place, at the wrong time. Nice job folks!

    December 21, 2009 at 8:56 pm | Reply
  20. Lee

    I think what you guys did is fantastic, it has proven that although it is highly respectable to win the x-factor and good luck to the winner in their future careers, the Christmas number 1 is not part of the winners package and is ultimately chosen by the public... not Simon. I have heard alot of criticism regarding how christmassy this act was (even though the song is brilliant, i'm sure it won't get much airtime). There hasn't been, however, enough mention in relation to the immense amount of money raised for a worthy charity by donation of fans alone, let alone the royalties yet to be donated by the band themselves. It has been a brilliant and exciting race with charity in mind, the best thing to happen to christmas for years.

    December 21, 2009 at 9:10 pm | Reply
  21. Isaias Palma

    Jon, do you find that Christmas time is a time in which people simply decide to "follow the system"?

    December 21, 2009 at 10:02 pm | Reply
  22. Fergal Byrne

    Jon, just want to say thanks for making this happen! For the past week i dedicated my life to campaigning for this group. It's amazing to think i joined when it had only 6,000 members. Do you have any plans for next year or are you going to let the battle commence between the real musicians once again? Also, what do you think about the new facebook campaign to get you a knighthood?

    December 21, 2009 at 10:37 pm | Reply
  23. Cindy

    Jon,

    I'm sorry but it seems to me your efforts in this campaign were less about the music and more about the power of social networking websites, online petitions etc. in our lives.

    Anyone can start any group on any topic and amass numbers of joiners, and it has nothing to do with whether or not they believe in your "cause".

    This was, in my opinion, an exercise in online dynamics rather than an opinion poll.

    December 22, 2009 at 7:57 am | Reply
  24. Alex

    Jon, do you find any irony in the fact that despite the lyrics and hair style, RATM are industry insiders themselves, being signed to a major record label?

    December 22, 2009 at 8:54 am | Reply
  25. Download

    I will right away seize your rss feed as I can not to find your email subscription hyperlink or e-newsletter service. Do you have any? Please let me know so that I may just subscribe. Thanks.

    January 19, 2013 at 12:55 am | Reply

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