It’s the most wonderful time of the year, which can only mean one thing – the race for the Official Christmas Number 1 is coming.
The 2021 Official Christmas Number 1 will be announced on Friday, December 24 live on BBC Radio 1's The Official Chart with Scott Mills, but who is in line for this year’s festive chart crown? With 2021 marking the UK’s 70th Official Christmas Number 1, competition for the top spot is shaping up to be fiercer than ever.
The Christmas Number 1 is a British institution – and often the most upredictable chart race of the year. Previous festive chart-toppers have been claimed by music icons – including Spice Girls, Queen and The Beatles - to cartoon characters, punk-rock disruptors, TV talent show winners, and all-star charity records. Look back at every Official Christmas Number 1 here.
Last year saw LadBaby (aka YouTuber Mark Hoyle) who, with the help of his family and a lot of sausage rolls, secured a rarely-seen hat-trick of Christmas Number 1s with Don’t Stop Me Eatin’, following We Built This City (2018) and I Love Sausage Rolls (2019). Money raised from the singles went to foodbank charity The Trussell Trust.
And this year, LadBaby are looking to break a long-held Official Charts record by becoming the first act ever to log four consecutive Christmas Number 1s. To achieve it, they've teamed up with Ed Sheeran and Elton John on a sausage roll (of course) based remix of their current festive single, Merry Christmas - re-titled Sausage Rolls For Everyone.
This year’s crop of contenders will face off against the festive classics, including Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You and Last Christmas by Wham!, both of which have topped the Official Singles Chart in recent years thanks to their popularity on streaming.
Scott Mills, host of The Official Chart Show on Radio 1 said, “It’s my favourite chart of the year and I’m so excited to host it!”
The 2021 Official Christmas Number 1 contenders
LadBaby ft. Ed Sheeran & Elton John - Sausage Rolls For Everyone
It's official! LadBaby have officially entered the race for 2021's Christmas Number 1 - and want to make history as the first act in UK chart history to achieve four consecutive Christmas Number 1s.
To do so, they've roped in Ed Sheeran and Elton John for a remix of the duo's new festive single. Of course, it's sausage roll based - so Merry Christmas has been transformed into Sausage Rolls For Everyone.
Apparently, Ed had reached out to LadBaby following their historic third consecutive Christmas Number 1 last year, and the plan was made for a very festive team-up to see if they could break the all-time chart record.
Ed Sheeran & Elton John - Merry Christmas
Ed and Elton have both enjoyed Number 1 success in 2021, and ever since news broke that they have recorded a Christmas song together, they’ve been hotly tipped for this year’s top spot. Both are experienced when it comes to landing a festive hit: Ed claimed 2017’s Christmas Number 1 with Perfect, while Elton’s 1973 hit Step Into Christmas has re-entered the Top 10 for the past two years.
Their duet, Merry Christmas, landed straight in at Number 1 on the Official Singles Chart on its release - will it hold on long enough to claim Christmas Number 1?
Image: Zakary Walters
ABBA – Little Things
Comeback icons ABBA enter the race for the first time with Little Things, their first ever Christmas single. A song that reflects on the joy of Christmas morning, the track was released on CD on December 3, while a music video has also been released to accompany the song.
George Ezra – Come On Home For Christmas
George has reworked the Charles Brown’s 1960 single as part of Amazon Music’s now annual festive offerings. Following in the footsteps of Jess Glynne’s This Christmas and Ellie Goulding’s River, can George revive this forgotten classic and take it all the way to Number 1? The track last appeared in the Official Singles Chart in 1994, when Bon Jovi’s cover peaked at Number 7.
Several tracks from Adele’s new album 30 are already proving hugely popular on the Official Chart – could one of them claim the Christmas top spot? As well as its Number 1 lead single Easy On Me, songs Oh My God and I Drink Wine are performing well.
Gary Barlow & Sheridan Smith
On his first Christmas album, titled The Dream Of Christmas, Gary has teamed up with star of stage and screen Sheridan Smith on the sparkly new track How Christmas Is Supposed To Be.
The K**ts - Boris Johnson is STILL A F**king C**t
Following last year's expletive-laden Boris Johnson Is A F**king C**t, which reached Number 5 on 2020's Official Christmas Chart, the band are back with another controversial aim at Christmas Number 1 glory. Can they go all the way this time? Watch a suitable for work edit of the song's Ghostbusters-themed video here. Available to stream and download now.
The Lathums – Krampus
Can the Wigan band build on the chart-topping success of their debut album from earlier this year? Krampus – as the title suggests – is technically an anti-festive number, but in the most wonderfully British way, singing about the end of the world and cancelling Christmas. Listen here.
Gypsy Pistoleros – Livin La Vida Loca (World Anthem)
Gypsy Pistoleros could be a surprise contender for this year’s top spot. The flamenco rock rumba punk 'n' roll band have covered Ricky Martin’s Livin La Vida Loca with a Day Of The Dead twist, which is available to download on now. All proceeds go to housing and homeless charity Shelter.
Olivia Dean – The Christmas Song
Rising London artist Olivia Dean has made her Official Chart breakthrough with holiday standard The Christmas Song – made famous by Nat King Cole - recorded as part of Amazon’s festive releases.
Craig Revel Horwood & Rietta - It's Christmas, Merry Christmas!
Strictly Come Dancing jude and his close friend (and former singer on the series) Rietta have teamed up to record their own original fab-u-lously festive tune this year.
David Mcgovern & Santa Ste - Stay The Same / Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
The singer and owner of Beyond Vinyl in Newcastle returns with another Christmas single following last year's Stay Another Day, which topped out at Number 2 on the Physical Singles Chart. This year he's releasing a cover of Joey McIntyre's Stay The Same, featuring Sam Fender's drummer Drew Michael, plus a B-side of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town. All profits going to the Batten Disease Family Association.
Have A Word Podcast - Laura's Gone
By day, UK comedic duo Adam Rowe and Dan Nightingale run the podcast Have A Word - but now they're throwing their hat into the race for Christmas Number 1. All proceeds from Laura's Gone will go to children's charities and the single is out now.
The Portraits - Photograph
Hailing from Somerset, The Portraits pay tributes to those who lost their lives during the Covid-19 pandemic with new single Photograph. With proceeds going towards Cruse Bereavement Support, the single is out now. Buy it here.
The 2021 Official Christmas Number 1 race kicks off at 12.00am on December 17, until 11.59pm December 23.
The winner will be revealed live on BBC Radio 1's The Official Chart with Scott Mills from 4pm on Christmas Eve, and the Top 100 Official Christmas Singles Chart and Albums Chart will be published on OfficialCharts.com from 5.45pm.
This year, Official Charts, in partnership with Nine Eight books, have released the The Official Christmas No.1 Singles Book - a definitive guide to every festive chart-topper. The book is priced at RRP £12.99 and is available via the Official Charts online store, on Amazon, Waterstones, WHSmith and more*.
*Official Charts may earn a small affiliate commission fee from some of these book retailers.