Christmas Number 1 2023: WHAM! and Sam Ryder neck and neck after first 48 hours

The biggest chart race of the year has begun!
christmas number 1 2023 first look

The UK’s Official Christmas Number 1 has kicked off in style, with some of the closest opening numbers between contenders battling for the festive chart crown in recent memory, according to Official Charts. 

The biggest chart race of the year sees current UK chart-toppers WHAM! take the lead for the coveted Christmas Number 1 with Last Christmas (1), but, there are a mere 42 chart units between George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley’s classic and UK Eurovision 2022 hero Sam Ryder, whose new Amazon Music Original You’re Christmas To Me leaps eight places to Number 2 midweek.  

Perennial festive kings WHAM! are looking to secure their first-ever Christmas Number 1 with Last Christmas, and they’re throwing everything they’ve got at it this year, from limited edition Last Christmas vinyl, a first-time CD single release of the song, and download promotion too. They’re in it to win it. 

Sam Ryder is also out in force on the campaign trail with a promotional tour bus on the road in London and Manchester this weekend, plus high-profile media appearances behind him too including the Radio 1 Live Lounge and The One Show. It’s no surprise then that You’re Christmas To Me has gained some serious momentum over the weekend. As it stands, Sam Ryder is firmly in with a shot at his first Number 1 single this week - a Christmas Number 1, no less. Could a “Samageddon” be on the cards?  

But this is the most important chart race of the year, so you can never count anyone out! Mariah Carey starts out at Number 3 midweek with All I Want For Christmas Is You, while Ed Sheeran and Elton John’s Merry Christmas rises to Number 4. 

Still very much one to watch however, is The Pogues ft. Kirsty MacColl, who place at Number 5 on tonight’s Official Chart First Look with Fairytale of New York
With public support for a long-awaited Pogues Christmas Number 1 in tribute to the late Shane MacGowan, plus a new limited edition vinyl charity release of the single expected to drop on Tuesday, we could easily be looking at a shake-up in the back half of the week. Fairytale Of New York is certainly one to keep an eye on as the week progresses. 

Other contenders to look out for as the race develops; Noah Kahan’s Stick Season (6) and Jorja Smith’s Stay Another Day cover (7), another Amazon Music Original which has shot up the chart 13 places since Friday, proving the series’ popularity with the British public.  

A midweek shout out is in order for UK TikTok collective Creator Universe too who nab the best-selling single of the week so far with their charity cover of Wizzard’s I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday, in aid of foodbank charity The Trussell Trust (11). As it stands, the group of TikTok creators are just 33 chart units behind a Top 10 placing on the Official Chart, with former Number 1 holder Jack Harlow's Lovin’ On Me just ahead of them at Number 10. They’ll need to accelerate download sales to match the streaming prowess of their rivals, but whatever you do, don't count them or their army of digital followers out yet. It's all still to play for right now.

Further down, Cher’s DJ Play A Christmas Song (26) is looking to enter the Top 40 for the first time, it would be her first UK Top 40 entry in 10 years and her 34th overall. 

Post-punk duo Sleaford Mods may have claimed four consecutive UK Top 10 albums, but they could be about to enter the Official Singles Chart for the first time ever this week, thanks to their Pet Shop Boys cover West End Girls (78).  

When will 2023's Official Christmas Number 1 single be announced?

The Official Christmas Number 1 race 2023 kicked off Friday December 15, the final cut-off for sales and streams to count is midnight (11.59pm) on Thursday, December 21. So whoever you're backing, get behind your favourites before then.

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.

The full Top 100 Official Christmas Singles Chart and Albums Chart will be published on from 5.45pm.

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Keep up with all our Christmas Number 1 news and features here and join the conversation over on social media now using the hashtag #XmasNo1. Follow @OfficialCharts on TikTokInstagramTwitter and Facebook

Image: Press/Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images

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Hope Cher can remain in the Top 40 for the final chart! 😊




How is Sam Ryder placing so high if it is an Amazon exclusive? Unfortunately, I think Pogues and Kirsty are out of the race in what could be their last realistic chance at a No.1. With all the airtime Cher is getting on TV at the moment, I'm surprised she isn't heading top 20.




Nice to see CHER getting another top 40! And so well deserved 😊 😃 




Really want to see the Pogues at number 1! 😔 😟 




Woah, only 42 sales separating the Top 2??? 

I think Wham! will pull further ahead by the final chart unless Creators Universe somehow surge in sales.