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Thursday, 14 December, 2000, 17:46 GMT
Eminem voted Christmas favourite
Eminem was praised for his 'bite and intelligence'
Eminem has emerged as the clear favourite for the coveted Christmas number one spot in BBC News Online's user poll.

The US rapper took 20% of the votes for his controversial single Stan - about a psychopath who drives his car into a lake with his wife in the boot.

He beat off fierce competition from children's TV favourite Bob the Builder, who came in a close second with 17% of the votes.

Click here to see the results of BBC News Online's poll
Bob the Builder
Bob the Builder is Eminem's closest rival

But contrary to expectations, Westlife - the bookmakers' favourites for the festive top spot - only bagged 11% of the vote, with 28% of people voting simply to register their dislike of the all-boy group.

Most of those voting for Eminem praised him for being a gifted musician.

"Eminem, although often offensive, releases music with bite and intelligence," commented TC from the UK.

"If the Christmas number one was a matter of talent, there would only be one winner: Eminem.

"Stan is a fantastic song - depressing but ultimately extremely listenable."

Westlife's new single, the double A-sided What Makes A Man/Motown Medley, has yet to be released - it comes out on 18 December.

Westlife: Not a favourite with BBC News Online's users

However, most of those voting against the group earning their eighth number one single, did not consider listening to the track necessary before registering their dislike.

"Westlife only get to number one because of their good looks," said G A Malacrino, also from the UK.

"They could sing the worst song ever and it would still be number one."

Elsewhere, bookmakers William Hill still have Westlife as the hottest contenders for the festive top spot.

They have shortened their odds for the group having the Christmas number one position for the second year running from 2/5 to 1/3.

Bob the Builder's single Can We Fix It? - sung by the BBC show's narrator Neil Morrissey - is again second favourite with odds of 2/1.

William Hill, however, puts Eminem at number three with odds of 10/1.

Craig Phillips
Craig Phillips is donating money from his single to charity

Craig Phillips from Big Brother is neck and neck with Robbie Williams - they both had singles out this week - with odds of 16/1. The Sugababes are trailing at 20/1.

Despite not being tipped for festive success by either BBC News Online's users or William Hill, Bob the Builder does seem likely to take pole position in the singles chart this Sunday.

In its second week of release, Can We Fix It? - based on the popular animated character's theme song - has overtaken the current number one single from Eminem in sales.

On Friday, Bob had sold 94,000 singles since the start of the week while Eminem had sold 59,000.

Those who voted for Bob in BBC News Online's poll, expressed huge enthusiasm for his "can do" attitude.

"Bob the Builder, can he beat Eminem? Yes, he can.

"Not only can he sing, the bloke can fit guttering as well," said Dave Nightingale from Sheffield, UK.

Many industry observers also still believe that in the run-up to Christmas Bob's loyal and numerous fans will support their hero at number one against the fierce battle waged by Westlife.

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Poll results in full

Eminem, Stan: 20%

Bob the Builder, Can We Fix It?: 17%

Westlife, What Makes A Man: 11%

Craig Phillips, At This Time Of Year: 2%

Kylie, Please Stay: 2%

Sugababes, New Year: 2%

Robbie Williams, Supreme: 1%

Anyone but Westlife: 28%

All rubbish: 17%

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See also:

13 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Westlife triumph in album battle
06 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Westlife gun for Spice Girls
06 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Westlife: Pretenders to Beatles' throne?
24 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Westlife break own record
11 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Eminem trounces Bob in chart battle
10 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Westlife top Smash Hits polls
16 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Kylie to spin around Britain
13 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Craig signs five-album deal
12 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Westlife lead Christmas chart race
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