Ed Sheeran appears to be taking no chances with the release today of an additional symphony version of Perfect Feat Andrea Bocelli, following the combination with Beyonce that helped lift the track to No.1, which he should retain later today. The belt-and-braces approach from Atlantic should reach a new demographic and secure him the Christmas No.1 in a week's time — but there are some late challengers.
The sales week starts from today (December 15) and there’s a new release from Decca’s No.1 album artists Michael Ball & Alfie Boe with Bring Me Sunshine, which raises money for children’s charity Rays Of Sunshine. The song by the comedy duo (Morecambe & Wise, of course, not Ball & Boe) has been recorded with guest stars including Miranda Hart, Imelda Staunton, Jason Manford and Gareth Malone.
There are other charity singles in the running. Ralph McTell has re-recorded Streets Of London with a choir made up of clients from Crisis and guest vocalist Annie Lennox. Former Pop Idol winner Michelle McManus has come up with a massive charity effort with a reworking of Paul McCartney’s We All Stand Together featuring Choirs Of Purpose. The vocal efforts of 1,400 voices will benefit 11 charities.
But the ultimate challenger for the festive No.1 would be Adele, who’s tipped to release a charity song in aid of those affected by the Grenfell Tower tragedy. Bookmaker William Hill cut the odds of it making the top of the chart for Christmas from 25/1 to 2/1.
Mariah Carey is in the running with her chart perennial, All I Want For Christmas Is You, which is out-performing the many other Christmas songs in the chart - and her festive arena tour has helped her cause. But there’s also an online campaign for Wham!’s Last Christmas, which might yet drive the song to No.1 (it just missed out on the top spot back in 1984) as a tribute to George Michael a year on from his death.
All we wanted for Christmas was @MariahCarey playing festive hits... and she certainly delivered tonight @TheO2 pic.twitter.com/QeUmWB550i— Music Week (@MusicWeek) December 12, 2017
Based on the track record over the years, a completely non-festive song is just as likely to be No.1, so Past Malone may fancy his chances with the Latin remix of his chart-topper Rockstar. Then there are the current hits by Rita Ora, Big Shaq and Camila Cabello.
Traditionally, The X Factor is also in with a shout, so Rak-Su’s Dimelo can’t be ignored.
Songwriter Jamie Scott, who’s collaborated with the show’s successful boy bands JLS and One Direction, has praised this year’s victors.
“They had an amazing reaction,” he told Music Week. “If they think what I do is something that can lend itself to the project, then obviously I would be very up for working with Syco.”
Perhaps there’s a future festive No.1 in the pipeline. But the boy band don’t appear to have the momentum this week, which sets up a perfect year-end result for Sheeran.