Christmas number one: Who are the contenders for this year’s festive top spot?

Christmas number one: Who are the contenders for this year’s festive top spot?
  • PublishedDecember 19, 2023

From classic songs from Wham!, Mariah Carey and The Pogues to a collection of TikTok stars – who will hit the top of the charts?

‘Twas the week before Christmas, when all through the charts, several artists were stirring, to be in the number one spot.

Some festive classics are battling it out with more modern hits in the most competitive Christmas chart in years.

After LadBaby dropped out of the running after five years at the top at Christmas, it is all to play for.

Whoever is number one in the Official Singles Count on Friday will join some British musical icons who have previously secured the festive top spot, including The Beatles and the Spice Girls – as well as more unlikely chart-toppers such as Mr Blobby and Bob the Builder.

Wham! – Last Christmas

Wham pictured in September 1984, three months before Last Christmas was released
Image:Wham! in 1984

The 1984 hit was number one in last week’s chart – securing the top spot for the second week in a row.

George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley’s melancholy tale of a scorned lover is one of the favourites for the Christmas crown.

If it succeeds, it will be the first time it has been Christmas number one – it was famously kept off the top spot in 1984 by Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas?.

Last Christmas has hit the top of the charts several times previously – but not as Christmas number one – in 2021, 2022 and January 2023.

Creator Universe – I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday

Creator Universe – a collection of more than 30 TikTok stars – is in the race for Christmas number one with a cover of Wizzard’s 1973 track I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday.

The song was only released on 15 December, with profits from the single to be donated to The Trussell Trust, which runs around 1,200 food banks across the UK.

Some of the online influencers who recorded the cover at London’s Abbey Road Studios were Rosie McClelland, The Famileigh and Amy-Jo Simpson.

Mariah Carey – All I Want For Christmas

In this Dec. 3, 2014 file photo, Mariah Carey performs at the 82nd Annual Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting ceremony in New York. Caesars Palace announced Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015, that the pop icon would launch a residency May 16 at The Colosseum in Las Vegas. Carey has announced 18 performances so far. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)
Image:Mariah Carey in 2014

The US superstar missed out on Christmas number one to East 17’s Stay Another Day when both songs were released in 1994.

But Carey is in with a shot this year, charting at number three in last week’s chart.

The song broke UK chart records when it hit number one in December 2020 – 26 years after its release.

It has been in the top 40 for the festive season every year since 2007.

The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl

Singers Kirsty MacColl and Shane MacGowan collaborated on the controversial Pogues' Christmas song 'Fairytale in New York' which is now considered offensive by some
Image:Kirsty MacColl and Shane MacGowan

After the death of The Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan last month, an online campaign has gathered momentum to get their gloomy yet hopeful Christmas classic to the number one spot for the first time ever.

MacGowan’s wife Victoria Mary Clarke said previously the song “should be the Christmas number one, it absolutely should. I’m very much in favour of that”.

She added: “I don’t think [getting to number one] was ever that important to him, because I think that he really appreciated the fact that so many people love it and it means so much to so many people, and being number one isn’t really all about being appreciated.”

MacGowan’s partner on the song, Kirsty MacColl, died in a boating accident in Mexico in December 2000.

Jack Harlow – Lovin On Me

Jack Harlow attends the 65th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California, U.S., February 5, 2023. REUTERS/David Swanson
Image:Jack Harlow at the 2023 Grammys

The first non-festive contender is US rapper Jack Harlow’s Lovin On Me.

It is the 25-year-old’s fourth top five single in the UK.

The song was previously in the number one spot for three consecutive weeks in November and December – making it Harlow’s first chart-topping song in the UK.

A snippet of the song went viral on TikTok before its release.

Noah Kahan – Stick Season

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 26: Noah Kahan performs live in concert at the Fox Theater on March 26, 2019 in Oakland, California. Photo: imageSPACE/MediaPunch
Image:Noah Kahan performing in 2019. Pic: AP

The US singer’s breakthrough UK hit climbed to the second place position on last week’s chart after 11 weeks in the chart.

The popularity of the 26-year-old’s song was boosted by a cover performed by pop star Olivia Rodrigo.

Kahan, from Vermont, first hit the charts in October, and has been in the second spot for two non-consecutive weeks.

Merry Christmas – Ed Sheeran and Sir Elton John

Undated handout photo issued by Official Charts Company of Ed Sheeran (right) and Sir Elton John who's festive collaboration Merry Christmas has gone straight to the top of the UK singles chart. Issue date: Friday December 10, 2021.
Image:Sir Elton John and Ed Sheeran in 2021 when they secured the number one spot on the charts

Ed Sheeran and Sir Elton John‘s 2021 offering was pipped in the Christmas charts that year by a remix of itself – LadBaby‘s Sausage Rolls For Everyone.

However, it was number one for three non-consecutive weeks that year, and reached a high of number three on last year’s Christmas charts.

An outside contender for 2023, it was in sixth position in last week’s chart.


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