Robbie Williams is on course to top the UK singles chart for the first time in eight years following his performance on The X Factor.
Candy, his first single on Island since a switch from EMI, had sold more than 70,000 copies this week by the end of business on Tuesday, according to the Official Charts Company, giving it a 69% sales lead over the rest of the market.
Williams last led the singles countdown in October 2004 with Radio, his sixth solo No 1, and Candy's strong start follows him performing the song on The X Factor results show last Sunday. If it does debut at the top this weekend as expected it will be the second No 1 in a row to have been performed the previous week on the ITV1 programme with Syco act Labrinth lifting to 1 last weekend with Beneath Your Beautiful. Labrinth is now down to 2 on the midweeks.
The week before Calvin Harris debuted at 1 with Sweet Nothing alongside Florence Welch and he is now in a close battle for artist albums chart honours. His third Columbia album 18 Months is around 2,500 sales ahead of fellow new release, Parlophone act Kylie Minogue's The Abbey Road Sessions. Harris topped the chart for the first time with his second album Ready For The Weekend in 2009.
Virgin act Emeli Sande drops 2-3 with Our Version Of Events at this stage in the week, while sales of Atlantic/Fueled By Ramen signings Fun's album Some Nights have risen five-fold following their performance on The X Factor. As a result the album lifts 33-4 on Sales Flashes, while on the singles listings We Are Young featuring Janelle Monae rises 52-11 as the album's title track lifts 38-20.
Having given her a first UK No 1 last Sunday, Red by Mercury's Taylor Swift now drops to 5, while below it are three brand new albums. Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da, Madness's first on Cooking Vinyl, is at 6, one place below where their last studio set, The Liberty Of Norton Folgate, peaked in 2009, while Matt Cardle's second album The Fire and first on the So What label via Silver Screen is 7. Letters, his last album and only one through Sony's Columbia, debuted at 2 last year.
Neil Young is challenging for a first UK Top 10 album since 2000 with what is his first album of new material with Crazy Horse since 2003's Greendale. The Warner Bros-issued Psychedelic Pill registers in the week to date as a new entry at 8, while Genttlemen Of The Road/Island's Mumford & Sons drops 5-9 with Babel and Mick Hucknall's second solo album American Soul via Rhino/Warner's ATCO is new at 10.
Sales of Muse's Helium 3/Warner Bros album The 2nd Law increase 42% following tour dates and an appearance last Saturday on Jonathan Ross's ITV1 chat show, although it drops 8-12 in the midweeks. Below it, brand new albums registering include new sets from Snapper Music's Peter Andre, Mascot's Black Country Communion, DMG TV's The Soldiers, Epitaph's Parkway Drive, Thomas Newman's Sony Classical-issued Skyfall soundtrack and a new Blix Street Eva Cassidy retrospective.
Having scored his biggest UK hit single to date with Heatwave, Wiley is set for another UK top five hit with the One More Tune/Warner Bros-issued Can You Hear Me (Ayayaya) aso featuring Skepta, JME and Ms D new at 3 on Sales Flashes. The Virgin single Don't You Worry Child by Swedish House Mafia featuring John Martin drops 2-4, XL's Adele climbs back up 7-5 with Skyfall as the movie impacts and Columbia's Calvin Harris drops 3-6 with Sweet Nothing featuring Florence Welch.
Island act PSY's Gangnam Style falls 5-7 at this stage in the week as Def Jam/Mercury's Rihanna slips 4-8 with Diamonds, A&M/Octone/Poldyor's Maroon 5 lose a place to 9 with One More Night and Mercury's Taylor Swift drops a notch to 10 with We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together.
Outside the Top 10 positions, there are big sales increases for Decca's The Lumineers with Ho Hey (up 47% to rise 23-14), RCA's Paloma Faith with Never Tear Us Apart (up 95% to climb 29-16) and Universal Republic/Island's Of Monsters And Men with Little Talks (up 119% to rise 33-26).
The full midweek singles and albums charts are on musicweek.com.