Christmas Number 1 2023 contenders revealed
The biggest chart race of the year - the Official Christmas Number 1 - is underway.
With the Christmas Number 1 2023 race blown wide open with the news that LadBaby will be stepping down following their record-breaking streak of five Official Christmas Number 1 wins, Official Charts can now reveal the contenders who will be fighting it out for the biggest chart-topper of the year.
Kicking off Friday 15th December 2023, and running through to 23.59pm Thursday 21st, the winner of 2023’s Official Christmas Number 1 will be announced Friday, December 22 live on BBC Radio 1's The Official Chart with the full Official Christmas Singles and Albums Chart Top 100 published on OfficialCharts.com.
In the meantime, keep up to date right here with all the very latest, exclusive Official Christmas Number 1 news.
So, who could be in the running for this year's race?
The Official Christmas Number 1 is a British institution, having been secured by major musical icons including The Beatles (with four to their name), Spice Girls (three times on the trot) and...Mr. Blobby and Bob the Builder? That’s the magic of Christmas, after all!
With the internet stars and current reigning champions LadBaby firmly out of the picture this year, the field has opened up with more opportunity than ever before for new charity singles, notable anniversary campaigns for much-loved festive classics, and plucky underdogs nationwide to make a dash for the top spot.
Chief Executive Officer of the Official Charts Company, Martin Talbot, comments:
"Yes, it is that time of year again! You can always tell when we are in the final run in to Christmas – festive lights switching on in high streets across the country, chocolate tubs appearing in all of our supermarkets, the arrival of Xmas channels appearing on our TVs… and, of course, the starting pistol firing on the Christmas Number 1 Race.
"And, with LadBaby stepping back after five years as winners, this year’s race looks as open as ever. Aside from the Sleaford Mods’ cover of West End Girls for Shelter, Sooty is batting on behalf of Great Ormond Street Hospital, a Rock Choir is raising money for Cash For Kids, and we even have a trance pussycat called Nala supporting the homeless and the RSPCA. Plus, of course, there will be a range of classics, arguably led this year by Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody, celebrating its 50th anniversary. What a Christmas chart race it is going to be!"
Official Christmas Number 1 2023 contenders
Creator Universe - I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
Creator Universe are a collective of 30 of the UK's biggest TikTok stars unite to cover Wizzard's classic 1973 track I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday.
Recorded at the iconic Abbey Road Studios and produced by Jamie Sellers, the man behind LadBaby's three most recent Christmas Number 1 singles Food Aid (2022), Sausage Rolls for Everyone (ft. Ed Sheeran and Elton John) (2021) and Don't Stop Me Eatin' (2020), 100 per cent of profits from the track will go to The Trussell Trust.
WATCH: Behind-the-scenes with TikTok's Creator Universe as they record I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday
Nala the Station Cat – Check Meowt
What if we were to tell you a four-year-old cat from Stevenage was releasing a bid for Christmas Number 1? And what if we were to tell you said bid was in the form of a trance banger titled Check Meowt?
Nala the Station Cat has gained the backing of fans online after she became a social media sensation; originally delighting commuters at Stevenage railway station before going global (well, outside of the M25)?
Check Meowt is produced by Danny Kirsch and written alongside Joe Killington, with Nala (rightly) co-credited as songwriter and vocalist, and a video filmed at Stevenage railway station. All proceeds from the single will be donated to the RSPCA and Stevenage homelessness charity Feed Up Warm Up.
Meow that’s a campaign we can get behind.
Sleaford Mods – West End Girls
Nottingham-formed post-punk duo Sleaford Mods, comprising Jason Williamson and Andrew Fearn, release a cover of Pet Shop Boys’ 1985 Number 1 single West End Girls in aid of Shelter. The single will also be released on 12” vinyl on December 15, with all profits from sales of the single donated to Shelter.
With Pet Shop Boys’ having secured 1987’s Christmas chart-topper Always on My Mind, could Sleaford’s cover deliver them a second taste of festive chart glory?
Speaking exclusively to Official Charts, Sleaford Mods' Jason Williamson said: "A Christmas Number 1 would be up there with a Number 1 album for me.
"The charts are very important to me. To anybody saying ‘charts aren’t important,’ I don’t agree. It’s a really good look if you can get into that Top 10 or Top 5, dreams come true.
"Our last two albums [Spare Ribs and UK GRIM] have gone Top 5, and it’s really elevated our band. From a selfish, business perspective it’s obviously brilliant, but let’s get the Shelter charity up there, too."
Rock Choir – I Wish it Could Be Christmas Everyday
The largest contemporary choir in the world, with over 33,000 members, release their take on Wizzard’s I Wish it Could Be Christmas Everyday, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, having peaked at Number 4 in 1973. Backed by Wizzard’s Roy Wood himself, donations made via the track’s fundraising video will be donated to Cash for Kids’ Mission Christmas appeal, with choir members also raising money at hundreds of Christmas events up and down the country.
The Gleeman – I Love Christmastime
No, not the return of the cast of Glee that everyone is crying out for. Raising awareness for War Child and keeping a spotlight on the ongoing war in Ukraine, I Love Christmastime features the Kyiv-based Shchedryk Children’s Choir. The Gleeman comments: “If I Love Christmastime with the participation of the Ukrainian children and the support of War Child can help raise awareness and the support for children impacted by war, can connect with people, can unite people, can provide some comfort and joy or can encourage anyone to sing along so they do not feel so alone, this Christmastime will definitely become one of the magical ones.”
Sooty – I’m in the Mood for Christmas
Because nothing says Christmas quite like mischievous glove puppet Sooty covering The Nolans’ I’m in the Mood for Dancing, especially when it’s all in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital. I’m in the Mood for Christmas sees Sooty team up with his pals Sweep and Sue on the track, though they don’t appear to be credited. Let’s hope a royalties battle isn’t looming.
The Celebs – So Delicious
Back with an all-new line-up, The Celebs return with So Delicious; a fun, original Christmas track raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital. 2023’s line-up includes The Chase’s Anne Hegerty, Good Morning Britain’s Laura Tobin and Melinda Messenger. Let’s go girls!
The Pogues ft Kirsty MacColl - Fairytale of New York
Following the sad news that The Pogues singer Shane MacGowan had died aged 65, mourning fans have already assembled themselves and set the task of getting the Pogues's most famous song, Fairytale of New York, to Number 1 for the first time ever. It would be a fitting tribute to MacGowan, and MacColl, who herself died in tragic circumstances in 2000. A new limited edition vinyl release of Fairytale Of New York is landing this week, with proceeds going to Dublin Simon Community, a charity supported by the late MacGowan and his widow, Victoria Mary Clarke.
Slade – Merry Xmas Everybody
2023 marks 50 years of Slade’s yuletide staple Merry Xmas Everybody, 1973’s Official Christmas Number 1 single. With fans keen to celebrate the song’s golden anniversary as it’s remastered in Dolby Atmos for the first time, could the Wolverhampton rockers return to the top spot this year?
Wham! – Last Christmas
Having already claimed the top spot in December, might this be the year Wham!’s iconic Last Christmas finally claims the most coveted chart-topper of 2023? While the track also reach the summit in January 2021 and 2023, it’s yet to be crowned an Official Christmas Number 1.
George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley’s festive favourite has settled at Number 2 on a few Official Christmas Singles Charts, including last year’s – surely it’s only a matter of time before it goes all the way?
Team Wham! are certainly pulling out all the stops this year with a new green vinyl edition of Last Christmas and a first-time ever CD release.
Mariah Carey – All I Want for Christmas is You
Self-appointed Queen of Christmas Mariah Carey saw All I Want for Christmas is You reach Number 1 for the first time in 2020 - breaking Official Chart records 26 years after its release. However, the classic has never actually achieved Christmas Number 1 status; having just missed out to East 17's Stay Another Day.
With the song already making its way back into the Top 20 this week, could 2023 be Mariah's year? It’s never been wise to count her out.
Ed Sheeran & Elton John – Merry Christmas
Already in “modern Christmas classic” territory, Ed Sheeran and Elton John’s Merry Christmas bowed out at Number 5 on last year’s Official Christmas Singles Chart. It nearly went all the way in 2021 – peaking at Number 2 the week before Christmas Number 1, before being replaced by LadBaby’s Sausage Rolls For Everyone, a comic twist on Merry Christmas which also featured Ed and Elton. This year, though, Ed and Elton could keep all the glory for themselves.
Elton John – Step Into Christmas
The focus track of Elton John’s 2023 festive EP, Step Into Christmas also receives a vinyl repressing and its own TikTok trend this year. This could set the track up for a brand-new personal best, having peaked at Number 8 in 2019.
Political and social media campaigns
AC/DC – Thunderstruck - OUT OF THE RACE
AC/DC fans were keen to see the Aussie rock outfit take the 2023 Christmas Number 1 50 years after the band’s formation, with members of AC/DC Facebook fan page AC/DC We Salute You have selecting the group’s Number 13-peaking 1990 single Thunderstruck in their campaign to reach the top spot this Christmas.
Since then, though, organisers Steevi and Jon have postponed their support of the track; instead opting to fight for the top spot in early 2024.
In a statement to Official Charts, organisers Steevi and Jon said: "After a vote across three separate AC/DC groups, including the original 2013 campaign group of over 100,000 members, we have decided to put back the campaign week to Friday 29th December to Thursday 4th January. By choosing to delay by two weeks, we'll also avoid being caught up in the Christmas songs that will no doubt be prominent the week after Christmas as well.
"Why? Because it focuses more on the band's 50th anniversary itself rather than being caught up in the Christmas mayhem, in which we feel many would love to see Fairytale of New York top the pack for reasons we all know well. When polled, 83% of AC/DC fans agreed so that's what we're going to do."
EMF featuring Stephen Fry – Hello People
Cinderford-formed alt-rock group EMF team up with Stephen Fry on their #XMasNo1 bid, Hello People. The statement single is a ‘call to stand against the hate-myths of immigration,’ and is sure to strike a chord with many this Christmas.
The Krackpots – Proper Christmas
A mystery band of puppets keen to keep their true identities under wraps, “a bit like Banksy”. The Krackpots release a festive tune harking back to the fun of proper, ‘70s and ‘80s Christmas classics. Think Chas and Dave, vintage Madness and Slade.
With the group eager to remain anonymous, we're assured they’re not the Top 5-gatecrashing The K**ts under a pseudonym. Nope. Definitely not...
New releases and possible climbers
Noah Kahan - Stick Season
Noah Kahan's breakout UK hit Stick Season has proven its endurance on the Official Singles Chart, despite a flurry of festive favourites dominating the Top 10. Could its longevity see it claim 2023's most important chart-topper? Read more about Noah Kahan's chances of getting this year's Christmas Number 1 single here.
The Beatles – Now And Then
After breaking Official Chart records in November, could The Beatles’ ‘last’ song Now And Then see them through to the 2023 Christmas Number 1? They’re no strangers to the festive spot, prior to LadBaby, The Beatles boasted the record for the most-ever Official Christmas Number 1 singles, with four under their belt - I Want to Hold Your Hand (1963), I Feel Fine (1964), Day Tripper/We Can Work It Out (1965) and Hello, Goodbye (1967).
Jack Harlow – Lovin On Me
Might current reigning Official Singles Chart champ Jack Harlow make it all the way to #XmasNo1 2023? Lovin On Me became the rapper’s first UK Number 1 last Friday and is showing no signs of slowing down just yet.
Mimi Webb – Back Home for Christmas
Saying she’s ‘manifesting’ 2023’s Christmas Number 1, Mimi Webb tells Official Charts: “I’d honestly end the year the happiest girl if it happened. That’d be a dream come true, to wake up one morning with a Christmas Number 1. I’m manifesting it!”
Trickster – Silent Night vs Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Austria-born, UK based musician Juergen Pilcher, aka Trickster, returns with a festive mash-up of Silent Night and Santa Claus is Coming to Town. Recorded at the iconic Abbey Road Studios, the track once again sees Trickster team-up with esteemed songwriter Guy Chambers following his 2022 bid Thank F**k It’s Christmas.
Cher – DJ Play a Christmas Song
Lifted from her first ever Christmas album, DJ Play a Christmas Song sees Cher at her campest yet – and that’s quite the statement. Can Cher “turn back time” and land her first Number 1 since 1998’s Believe? That’s up to the British public.
Ella Henderson & Cian Ducrot – Rest of Our Days
This cosy team-up from Ella Henderson and Cian Ducrot sees the pair reflect on a year that’s proven a ‘hell of a ride,’ while reminding us to appreciate those closest to us over the festive season. Lovely stuff.
Tate McRae – exes
A pop superstar on the ascent, could Canadian singer-songwriter Tate McRae’s latest hit exes boast the longevity to claim Christmas Number 1? Her current hit, greedy, has proved to be a long-player in the Top 10, staying put for nine weeks and peaking at Number 3.
Andrea Bocelli – Festa
Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli has provided the official song for 2023’s John Lewis Christmas advert, pleasing fans with a soundtrack for the campaign’s lovable protagonist Snapper the Venus Flytrap. Could Festa become this year’s festive chart-topper?
Tyla – Water
A huge UK chart smash for rising Afrobeats star Tyla, Water hasn’t left the Official Singles Chart Top 10 for the past seven weeks, and with new versions of Water on the horizon, including a Marshmello remix and Travis Scott team-up, could the tune stick around and soundtrack the holiday season too?
OneRepublic – Dear Santa
OneRepublic will be hoping their original track Dear Santa becomes a modern Christmas classic. The US pop band, fronted by hitmaker to the stars Ryan Tedder, memorably pulled off a startling commercial comeback last year, scoring a sixth UK Top 10 single with Top Gun: Maverick track I Ain’t Worried, which peaked at Number 3.
Sam Ryder – You’re Christmas to Me
UK Eurovision hero Sam Ryder is back, with a brand-new Christmas original under his belt. You’re Christmas to Me is as excitable as the silky-haired one himself.
"Speaking exclusively to Official Charts about what a Christmas Number 1 would mean to him, Sam Ryder said: "It would mean such a great deal, because it’s my first record as an independent artist outside of that major label world. That’s what makes it really interesting. Throwing no shade at that paradigm and that system at all, it’s just clearer to me since we moved out of that space halfway through this year that we were right in thinking that the landscape’s changing for so many artists. Grassroots movements are happening everywhere.
"I can’t lie, a Number 1 would be fantastic for the whole team who’ve worked so hard; our little band of conspirators that are pulling together every single time to make things happen in this new independent lane.
"Getting a Number 1 record really helps and springboards your career into the next level. I totally understand, and respect, the importance of it."
Jorja Smith – Stay Another Day
Jorja Smith’s sublime cover of East 17’s 1994 Christmas Number 1 Stay Another Day has already received a lot of love online. Could it repeat the original’s success in 2023?
Anne-Marie – Christmas Without You
Rounding off this year’s Amazon Original exclusives, Anne-Marie unveils Christmas Without You. A cosy piece of pensive pop, Anne-Marie explains: “Christmas Without You holds a special place in my heart, and I'm thrilled to share my Amazon Original version with the world. This song is a reminder that the most precious gift during Christmas is the presence of loved ones."
Spotify Singles Holiday
Ezra Collective – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
2023 Mercury Prize winners Ezra Collective put their unique take on the ‘really wavy’ Christmas carol with this exclusive Spotify release. Discussing their choice of cover, the group’s Femi explains: "Christmas music is all about carols. The simplicity of them, but also the beauty in the melodies. I guess also growing up in church, around the Christmas period it’s the carols I would hear. For us, this tune is a really wavy carol, such a beautiful melody. So much to interpret and make your own."
Apple Music’s Carols Covered
Ella Henderson – Stay Another Day
Jorja Smith isn’t the only artist to tackle East 17 classic Stay Another Day this year. Also eager to get in on the festive action is Ella Henderson, who’s covered the 1997 #XMasNo1 for Apple Music’s Carols Covered series – but which version will the British public rally behind?
Bnxn – Joy to the World
Nigerian Afro-fusion singer-songwriter Bnxn, born Daniel Etiese Benson, brings a hilarious childhood tale to his version of Joy to the World. He tells Apple Music: “My choirmaster would make a funny face whenever he’s singing, ‘And heaven and nature sings.’ It’s like he tried to make a baritone voice and he makes this funny face and sometimes it distracts the whole band. That’s a memory I don’t think I could ever forget, because it’s a very happy one.”
Follow the Official Christmas Number 1 race:
The Official Christmas Number 1 race 2023 kicks off Friday December 15 with sales and streams counting up until midnight (11.59pm) on Thursday, December 21.
Tune in to The Official Chart on BBC Radio 1 on Friday December 22 from 4pm to hear the Christmas Top 40 countdown and the exclusive reveal of the Official Christmas Number 1 2023.
Join the conversation now using the hashtag #XmasNo1. Follow @OfficialCharts on TikTok, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. For all the latest race updates join the Official Charts mailing list for Breaking News on this year’s race and beyond.