X Factor’s Sam Bailey leads incredibly close Christmas Number 1 race

Sam Bailey's Skyscraper has taken an early lead in the race to the 2013 Official Christmas Number 1, but the competition remains incredibly close at this stage.

Sam Bailey's Skyscraper has taken an early lead in the race to the 2013 Official Christmas Number 1, but the competition remains incredibly close at this stage.

According to this morning’s Official Charts Company sales data, this year’s X Factor winner Sam Bailey is currently leading the race to become this year’s Official Christmas Number 1. The 36-year-old former prison guard’s cover of Demi Lovato’s Skyscraper is currently outselling its closest competitor, Happy by Pharrell Williams (Number 2), by more than two copies to one.

Up to midnight last night (Monday, December 16) nearly 45,000 copies of Sam’s track had been downloaded in the UK. The CD version of the single is expected to go on sale in record shops and supermarkets later today / tomorrow.

Official Charts Company chief executive Martin Talbot says, “Sam Bailey is out of the blocks and into a strong lead in the race to become this year’s Official Christmas Number 1."

"But as we’ve seen time and time again, this is certainly not the week of the year to become complacent," he adds. "With a host of acts snapping at Sam’s heels, including Pharrell, Leona, and the growing AC/DC campaign, anything could still happen between now and Sunday’s final whistle.”

Spurred on by Sam’s cover, the original version of Skyscraper by Demi Lovato looks set to re-enter the Top 40 this weekend. It’s at Number 22 today.

Pharrell’s Happy, which is taken from the soundtrack to Despicable Me 2, trails by 27,000 copies, while Leona Lewis’ Christmas single, One More Sleep, remains unmoved at Number 3. The former X Factor winner has just set a new Official Singles Chart record by becoming the first British female solo artist to score eight Top 5 singles.

Meanwhile, AC/DC’s Highway To Hell looks set to become the second highest new entry of the week, debuting at Number 4 on today’s sales flash. Despite originally being released in 1979, the veteran rockers’ track has been the subject of a Facebook campaign to get it to Number 1 this Christmas, much like the epic chart battle of 2009 which pitted Rage Against The Machine against then X Factor winner Joe McElderry. Should AC/DC’s momentum continue, it will be the band’s first UK Top 10 hit of their 40 year career.

While Highway To Hell is currently 32,000 sales behind Sam Bailey’s Skyscraper, the fight is by no means over; James Arthur’s Impossible was ahead of The Justice Collective's He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother at this same stage last year. The Hillsborough tribute song took the Christmas Number 1 spot by the end of the week.

Reigning chart queen Lily Allen completes today’s Top 5 with her cover of Keane’s Somewhere Only We Know (5).

Other festive contenders

The Big Reunion’s cover of Wizzard’s I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday is currently sitting just outside the Top 10 today (Number 11). The track features acts from ITV’s The Big Reunion - 5ive, Atomic Kitten, B*Witched, Blue, The Honeyz and Liberty X – and has been released in aid of the charity Text Santa.

The only other listed contender to appear in today’s Top 40 is Altern 8. The ‘90s rave duo’s hit, Activ 8, re-enters the Top 40 at Number 30, 22 years after its original release. The Staffordshire ravers were held off the top spot by Michael Jackson's Black Or White, and Vic Reeves And The Wonderstuff's Dizzy back in November 1991.

Kelly Clarkson’s Underneath The Tree climbs one place to 45, while Party Like A Rockstar (Up Your Game) by Geordie Shore’s Gaz with Olabean and The Risk is new in at 54.

O Come All Ye Faithful, Susan Boyle’s duet with Elvis Presley slides 38 places to Number 86, and Lil Chris and Lloyd Wilkinson’s Christmas Number One (#FeedEmYellowSnow) enter at 89.

Today’s festive new entries are completed by Lucy Spraggan’s Tea And Toast / It Doesn’t Feel Like Christmas (176), Robbie WilliamsDream A Little Dream (188) and Orbital’s Christmas Chime (193).

When will the 2013 Christmas Number 1 be announced?

The cut-off point for sales to be counted towards this year’s Official Christmas Number 1 is midnight next Saturday night (December 21). The Official Christmas Singles Chart Top 40 will then be counted down on BBC Radio 1’s Official Chart Show with Jameela Jamil and Scott Mills between 4 and 7pm next Sunday (December 22), with the full Top 100 posted on www.officialcharts.com at 7pm.