With less than a week to go before the Official 2013 Christmas Number 1 single is announced, we reveal this year’s top contenders from AC/DC to X Factor Sam Bailey, and everyone in-between!
The Christmas Number 1 is the most anticipated chart battle of the year, and on Sunday, December 22, Scott Mills and Jameela Jamil will reveal who has won the race to the Official 2013 Christmas Number 1 live on BBC Radio 1’s Official Chart Show.
Every year reality TV show contestants’ singles, campaigns against said reality TV show contestants and their singles, novelty releases and charity tracks fight it out with a host of regular Top 40 stars for the ultimate chart honour. The prize? Scoring the biggest selling single in the biggest sales week of the year, and proving to one and all you are the best of the best!
After a two year absence from the Official Christmas Number 1 race, X Factor - which is celebrating its 10th birthday this year - will once again be battling it out to claim the festive top spot. Former X Factor graduates James Arthur, Leona Lewis and Lucy Spraggan are also releasing singles in the run up to Christmas (some festive, some not), while Britain’s Got Talent alumni Richard & Adam and Susan Boyle (who’s been teamed up with none other than the late chart legend, Elvis Presley) are also giving it a shot.
With effectively six tracks in the running, Simon Cowell must really want this year’s Christmas Number 1. But do the record buying British public really want him and one of his acts to have it?
Possibly not. For starters, there’s a campaign to get AC/DC’s classic track Highway To Hell to Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart Christmas week. It’s being organised by some of the people behind Rage Against The Machine’s 2009 chart topper, Killing In The Name, which deprived then X Factor winner Joe McElderry of that year’s Christmas Number 1. Geordie Shore’s Gaz reckons he could be ‘the people’s Number 1’, while 11-year-old choirboy Jack Topping is bound to get the backing of mums, nans and aunties up and down the country with his cover of Tomorrow from the musical, Annie.
Meanwhile, taking a leaf out of The £1 Fish Man’s book, legendry producer Mike Stock has the novelty angle covered with Christmas Robot, which will be released under his alter ego The Retrobot. And, if it doesn’t peak too early, there’s always Lily Allen’s beautiful rendition of Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know from the John Lewis Christmas TV ad that seems to have already captured the hearts of the nation having already reached Number 1.
Other contenders who have recently thrown their hats into the ring include The Fishwives Choir (who hope to replicate the success of The Military Wives in 2011), Slade (but not with that song), Deacon Blue with You'll Know It's Christmas (their first ever festive-themed single), Robbie Williams’ cover of Dream A Little Dream., and U2's Ordinary Love, the Irish band's tribute to late South Africa president Nelson Mandela.
Who wins? You decide!
Whoever is destined to become the Official 2013 Christmas Number 1 will only get there because of the support you, the record buying British public. Whoever you’re backing in this year’s race, make sure you buy it between 00.01am on Sunday, December 15 and midnight on Saturday, December 21 for sales to count towards this year’s Official Christmas Singles Chart.
The Official Christmas Singles Chart Top 40 will be counted down on BBC Radio 1’s Official Chart Show with Scott Mills and Jameela Jamil between 4 and 7pm on Sunday, December 22, with the full Top 100 posted on www.officialcharts.com at 7pm.
The Official 2013 Christmas Number 1 contenders
AC/DC – Highway To Hell
In 2009 Joe McElderry became the first X Factor winner to lose a Christmas Number 1 race. His cover of Miley Cyrus’s The Climb was kept off the Official Christmas Singles Chart summit thanks to a social media campaign to get Rage Against The Machine’s 1993 single, Killing In The Name, to Number 1. It was organised by husband and wife team Jon and Tracy Morter as a protest over X Factor creator Simon Cowell’s perceived monopoly of the Christmas singles market. Now, with a little help from his friends, Jon (who was also involved with last year’s Christmas chart topper from The Justice Collective) hopes to do it all again with this massive anthem, and has lent his support to a campaign organised by a rock fan called Steevi Diamond. The campaign's Facebook page has already gathered a cool 144,000 supporters, plus 2013 is also AC/DC’s 40th anniversary, so scoring their first ever UK Number 1 could be a fitting salute to those who have rocked. It’s not all about raising a middle finger to the X Factor, it’s about raising awareness and funds for charity, too. After The Rage Against The Machine campaign in 2009 raised around £200,000 for homeless charity, Shelter, the folks behind the AC/DC Christmas Number 1 bid are asking fans who purchase Highway To Hell to also make a donation to Feel Yourself – a campaign to raise awareness about the importance of self-checking for breast and testicular cancer.
Altern-8 - Activ-8
Bringing the bass to this year's Christmas Number 1 race, it's Altern-8. It's not the usual standard-issue Christmas Number 1 get-up admittedly, and as such, '90s rave duo Altern-8 recently found themselves bemused by news of an online campaign intent on persuading the UK to swap Santa beards for the twosome's signature dust masks. Activ-8 (Come With Me) was the highest charting track released by Mark Archer and Chris Peat of Stafford electronic act, Altern-8. Peaking at Number 3, Activ-8 was originally held off the top spot by Michael Jackson's Black or White, and Vic Reeves And The Wonderstuff's Dizzy back in November '91, but now in 2013 could it finally be time for Activ-8 to take it all the way? "I have no idea why they chose us, or that song, but I'm very flattered!", says Archer. At the time of writing, over 22,000 ravers (or possibly 40-something-dads-who-once-raved) have joined the campaign. So if basslines are your thing, look no further than this pulsating bad boy.
The Big Reunion - I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
This festive classic from Wizzard is also 40 years young this year. Yet, despite re-entering the Official Singles Chart Top 75 every year for the past six years, I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday has never topped the chart (it peaked at Number 4 upon its release in 1973). But, with a little help from the acts from ITV’s The Big Reunion - 5ive, 911, Atomic Kitten, B*Witched, Blue, and Liberty X – who have recorded the track in aid of ITV's Text Santa appeal - could 2013 be the year I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday, or at least a cover version of it, hits the top spot?
Deacon Blue – You’ll Know It’s Christmas
Despite a career spanning nearly 30 years, and frontman Ricky Ross saying he tries to write one almost every year, Deacon Blue have never actually released a Christmas track… Until now! You'll Know It's Christmas, the Glasgow pop rockers’ first official attempt at a festive chart topper is “about the possibility of what Christmas means,” says Ricky. “It’s an upbeat celebration of all things great and good about the season and about people coming together.” Awww! It makes you feel all warm 'n' fuzzy inside!
Fynnjan Leach-Verhoeven – The Spirit Of Christmas
11-year-old school boy Fynnjan Leach-Verhoeven from Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire has Asperger’s Syndrome, which is a form of autism. But he hasn’t let his condition hold him back. In fact he’s written and recorded this Christmas Number 1 contender all by himself! He’s releasing it to raise money for the National Autistic Society to help support other children with autism.
The Fishwives Choir - When the Boat Comes In / Eternal Father
The Military Wives and Gareth Malone took the Christmas Number 1 spot in 2011 with their single Wherever You Are (which was released to raise money for the British Royal Legion and SSAFA) and in 2013 it could be the turn of The Fishwives Choir! The 40-strong-group, who are made up of the partners and relatives of fishermen, are releasing their double A-side, When the Boat Comes In / Eternal Father, to raise money for the Fishermen's Mission. They have the backing of BBC Radio 2’s Chris Evans, who was instrumental in The Military Wives’ campaign, so watch this space!
Gaz and Olabean FT The Risk and Emily Williams - Party Like A RockStar (Up Your Game Up)
After much public demand, Geordie Shore’s very own Gary ‘Gaz’ Beadle has reluctantly thrown his hat into the ring for this year’s Official Christmas Number 1 race. “I have been asked over and over to release a single but didn't want to do anything cheesy,” he says. “What better way to launch the first single I have ever produced than to give the X Factor winner a run for their money!” The 25 year-old adds that he’ll be “the people’s Number 1”, likening himself to Rage Against The Machine in their now infamous chart battle with X Factor winner Joe McElderry in 2009. Gaz has whistled in vocal input from former X Factor contestants The Risk on the R&B track. Whatever happens, let’s hope he fairs better than Leeroy Reed from sister show The Valleys, who only peaked at Number 37 back in July with his debut single.
Jack Topping – Tomorrow
11-year-old choirboy Jack Topping, who hails from Liverpool, has been hotly tipped to take this year’s Christmas Number 1 with his cover of Tomorrow from the musical, Annie. Given that Jack is signed to Decca Records, who were also behind 2011's Christmas Number 1 winners Military Wives and Gareth Malone, if hitting the festive top spot is a dream the debut chorister is looking to fulfil, he certainly has the backing of a proven team!
James Arthur – Recovery
He lost out on last year’s Official Christmas Number 1 after being knocked off the top of the Official Singles Chart by The Justice Collective’s cover of He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother. But, by the following week James Arthur’s Impossible was right back up there in pole position, and it’s now one of the biggest selling singles of all-time.
John Newman – Losing Sleep
He shot to fame last summer as the voice of Rudimental’s Number 1 smash, Feel The Love. Since then he’s gone on to top the Official Singles Chart in his own right with the monster hit, Love Me Again, and the Official Albums Chart with his debut full-length, Tribute. We don’t think John Newman will be Losing Sleep if his new single isn’t this year’s Official Christmas Number 1, but with his impressive track record he may just do it.
Leona Lewis – One More Sleep
Seven years on from her first Christmas Number 1 (2006’s A Moment Like This) could Leona Lewis be on track for her second festive chart topper? Well, the young lady Simon Cowell credits with singlehandedly saving the X Factor is going to give it her best shot with One More Sleep, the lead track from her new Christmas album, Christmas With Love. However, given that it comes out two weeks before the Christmas Number 1 race kicks off, it might be unlikely.
Lil’ Chris and Lloyd Wilkinson - Christmas Number One (#FeedEmYellowSnow)
He shot to fame in 2006 after appearing on Channel 4's Rock School, and now Lil’ Chris is ready for a chart comeback. And what better week than the race to the 2013 Christmas Number 1, right? Teaming up with his friend Lloyd Wilkinson, Chris will accept nothing less than the top spot on December 22nd - we know this because that’s what he’s called his single! (There’s also an amusing hashtag in the title which should serve as a warning to his competitors).
Lily Allen - Somewhere Only We Know
Featuring on John Lewis’ heart-warming ‘Bear and Hare’ Christmas TV ad campaign, you would have to have been holidaying on the moon not to have heard Lily Allen’s beautiful cover of Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know by now. It may already have hit the top spot before December has even gotten underway, but with a vocal so delicately haunting and the accompanying TV ad on high rotation, it will undoubtedly be hanging around the upper echelons of the Official Chart for some time yet.
Lucy Spraggan - Tea And Toast
While Christmas is more about turkey and stuffing than Tea And Toast, former X Factor star Lucy Spraggan’s forthcoming single does include a festive-themed B-side entitled It Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas. That explains it all, then!
Orbital – Christmas Chime
Orbital have thrown their hats into the 2013 Christmas Number 1 race with special Yuletide reworking of their 1990 debut Official Singles Chart hit, Chime. Re-titled Christmas Chime, the accompanying video sees brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll elfed up and partying with Farther Christmas himself!
The Retrobot – Christmas Robot
In the grand tradition of Mr Blobby, Bob The Builder, The Teletubbies, and, more recently The £1 Fish Man, every Christmas Number 1 race needs a novelty song. This year we give you The Retrobot with Christmas Robot. While The Retrobot claims to be a confused robot was switched off in 1989 and has been stuck in a cupboard ever since, we strongly suspect he’s actually Mike Stock, one third of the legendary Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan and Rick Astley hitmakers, Stock Aitken Waterman.
Richard & Adam - I Saw Three Ships Come Sailing In (On Christmas Day)
While they may have come third on this summer’s series of Britain’s Got Talent, Richard & Adam Johnson are the most successful act to emerge from this year’s reality TV talent contest. The brothers, from Holywell in Wales, have spent the most consecutive weeks at Number 1 on the Official Albums Chart so far this year (four). And, with their new take on this 17th century festive classic (which is taken from their forthcoming second album, the aptly titled The Christmas Album) they could be sailing towards success in the Official Christmas Number 1 race, too.
Robbie Williams – Dream A Little Dream Of Me
Having already claimed the festive top spot three times (in 2001 with Somethin’ Stupid FT Nicole Kidman, in 2004 as part of Band Aid 20, and 2012 as part of The Justice Collective with He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother), our Robbie is no stranger to Christmas Number 1s. And he hopes to do it all again this year! Robbie is releasing a re-recorded version of his cover of Dream A Little Dream Of Me, which features on his Number 1 album Swings Both Ways, especially for this year’s chart race. However, unlike Robbie’s album version, the single release of Dream A Little Dream… sadly won’t feature Lily Allen.
Slade - Everyday
It’s been 40 years since Slade topped the Official Singles Chart with their classic hit Merry Xmas Everybody, but now they could be in for a second shot at festive chart glory this year, albeit with a different song. The Black Country glam rockers are currently shooting up the Official Singles Chart with their 1974 Number 3 hit, Everyday, thanks to the heartfelt TV ad campaign for Google’s Nexus 7 tablet.
Susan Boyle and Elvis Presley - O Come, All Ye Faithful
Elvis Presley already has an Official Christmas Number 1 single to his name (the not very festive Return To Sender, which took the top spot in 1962). But now The King could be on course for his second thanks to some digital jiggery-pokery which sees him duetting with Susan Boyle! If this special rendition of one of the world’s best loved Christmas carols hits the top spot on December 22, it will not only be Susan’s first ever Number 1 UK single, it will give Elvis a record 22nd UK chart topper. Proceeds will be going towards Save The Children.
U2 - Ordinary Love
Following the death of Nelson Mandela on December 5, U2’s latest single, Ordinary Love, has emerged as a contender for this year’s Christmas Number 1 as the British record buying public pay tribute to the late president of South Africa. The single is taken from the soundtrack to the film Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, which stars Idris Elba and Naomie Harris, and is based on Nelson Mandela's 1994 autobiography of the same name.
X Factor Winner – TBC
And last but by no mean's least, having dominated the Official Christmas Singles Chart for five of the last eight years, this year’s X Factor winner Sam Bailey is a definite contender for the 2013 Christmas Number 1, particularly given that her debut single, Skyscraper, was released digitally after the live final airs on ITV 1 on Sunday, December 15 (the start of the Christmas Number 1 race). Simon Cowell has pledged to donate 100% of the proceeds from this year's winner's single to Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital and Together For Short Lives. Could either the 36-year-old mother of two from Leicestershire pull off a festive double next Sunday?!