Number 1 Flashback, 2011: Cher Lloyd's Swagger Jagger is a chaotic debut chart-topper

Cher Lloyd's debut single caused plenty of uproar upon its release, but she swaggered and she jaggered her way to the top of the Official Singles Chart regardless.

Debut singles are a tricky thing. Sometimes, right out of the gate, they encapsulate what makes an artist so great (Britney's ...Baby One More Time) while other times they are an explosive moment that is ultimately unlike anything else in their catalogue (Jessie J's Do It Like A Dude). For Cher Lloyd, her debut single Swagger Jagger was perhaps the best of both these worlds. 

As a contestant on the seventh series of The X Factor in 2010, Cher was carried to the semi-finals (where she finished fourth just behind One Direction) with her confident and undeniable sense of, sorry, swagger. Her debut single, if the title didn't already make that obvious, sought to re-capture that and turn Cher into a viable solo act. Although we're still none wiser about what exactly Swagger Jagger is, or how we could get some of our own.

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And what a truly bizarre first single Swagger Jagger is at points. It melds an initial sing-song melody with hard dubstep edges and a trashy Eurodance breakdown with a chorus that appears to sample both Oh My Darling Clementine and Little Donkey. 

It was certainly a brave swing - given that her fellow season seven contestants would debut with considerably safer fare, with One Direction's doe-eyed What Makes You Beautiful and Matt Cardle's first post-winners single co-written by Gary Barlow. 

MORE: View Cher Lloyd's Official Charts history in full here

But it was a risk that you could say paid off. This week 11 years ago, Swagger Jagger debuted atop the Official Singles Chart, de-throning fellow former X Factor contestants JLS with their track She Makes Me Wanna feat. DEV.

According to Official Charts Company data, as of 2022, Swagger Jagger has amassed more than 310,000 chart units, and also been streamed 6.7 million times in the UK.

It was included on Cher's debut album, Sticks + Stones, which would debut and peak at Number 4 on the Official Albums Chart later that year. The record would also give Cher her second and most recent UK Top 10, the perky With Ur Love.

Cher would issue one follow-up album, 2014's Sorry I'm Late (named after the years of delays caused to the album after Cher experience a US breakthrough with Want U Back, then hit label roadblocks, switching majors in the process) which is probably much better than you remember it. She's sadly not released another LP since, but has issued several singles in the last few years, since signing a deal with Universal and Polydor in 2018. 

Elsewhere on the chart that week, Nicki Minaj gained her first solo UK Top 10 hit as Super Bass jumped to Number 8, Rizzle Kicks' Down With The Trumpets entered the Top 10 for the first time at Number 9, and the week's highest new entry was courtesy of Swede Mason's Masterchef Synetheshia. Also known as Buttery Biscuit Base, the track was a bizarre mashup of voice samples from the BBC cooking show, landing at Number 37. 

Swagger Jagger is a handy reminder of just how powerful The X Factor and its star-making capabilities were at its height. It's just one of a mammoth 43 Number 1 singles achieved by former alumni of the show. 

View the Official Singles Chart Top 100 from this week in 2011

Listen to the UK Top 40 from this week in 2011 on Spotify below. Also available on Apple Music Deezer 

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🧡 oliviasnoodles 🍜


christ alive, that song was bloody awful. one of the worst number ones ever tbh