'X-Factor' Alums Rule U.K. Holiday Charts
Domination of the Christmas U.K. charts by ITV's "The X-Factor" was completed yesterday (Dec. 23), as 18-year-old Scottish singer Leon Jackson, who won the final of the contest on Dec. 15 and had hisDomination of the Christmas U.K. charts by ITV's "The X-Factor" was completed yesterday (Dec. 23), as 18-year-old Scottish singer Leon Jackson, who won the final of the contest on Dec. 15 and had his version of Mariah Carey & Whitney Houston's 1998 ballad "When You Believe" rush-released by Syco Music/Sony BMG, went straight to No. 1. Last year's winner and Syco labelmate Leona Lewis started a sixth week atop the album chart with "Spirit."
Guessing the winner of the race for the Christmas No. 1 was once almost a national sport in the U.K., producing all manner of idiosyncratic entries. But since the arrival of "The X-Factor," with its mass audience ratings and a final timed to produce a winner at the ideal strategic moment, the festive chart-topper is now a foregone conclusion. Jackson, who had pre-recorded "When You Believe," sold 276,000 copies of the track, which was available as a download within hours and was issued as a physical single last Wednesday (Dec. 19).
Last week's No. 1, "What a Wonderful World" (Dramatico) by Eva Cassidy & Katie Melua, fell to No. 2, while Lewis herself dipped 2-3 with the former chart-topper "Bleeding Love." "Fairytale of New York" (Warner Bros.) by the Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl rose again 8-4. After hitting No. 2 in 1987, the track has now reached No. 3, No. 6 and No. 4 in the last three holiday seasons.
While festive titles by Wham! and Wizzard slipped slightly, Slade's "Merry Xmas Everybody" (Polydor) became a top 20 hit again, climbing 22-20, as Shakin' Stevens' "Merry Christmas Everyone" (Sony Music) rose 23-22 and Band Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas" (Mercury) jumped 27-24.
Mark Ronson & Amy Winehouse's "Valerie" (Columbia) climbed back 11-8 and Sugababes' current single, "Change" (Universal Island), jumped 26-13. Former Arab Strap member Malcolm Middleton's "We're All Going To Die" (Full Time Hobby) debuted at No. 31 and download sales of Kylie Minogue's next single, "Wow" (Parlophone) took it into the top 40 at No. 32.
The Killers' festive download "Don't Shoot Me Santa" (Vertigo) climbed 43-34, the dance hit "Anthem" (Positiva) by Filo & Peri featuring Eric Lumiere rocketed 62-39 and Kate Nash's "Pumpkin Soup" (Fiction/Polydor) rose 58-40.
Lewis retained her album chart crown for Christmas, starting a sixth week at No. 1 with "Spirit." Westlife's "Back Home" (S/Sony BMG) retained the runner-up spot and Michael Buble stayed at No. 3 with the special edition of his "Call Me Irresponsible" album (Reprise/Warner Bros.). Rounding out the festive top five were Andrea Bocelli's retrospective "Vivere" (Sugar), up 6-4, and the Eagless' "Long Road Out of Eden" (Polydor), holding at No. 5.
Amy Winehouse managed the new achievement of two berths in the top 10 for her current Universal Island album. The deluxe edition of "Back to Black" rose 25-9 while the original, which is on course to be the U.K.'s bestselling album of 2007, dipped 9-10 in its 60th chart week.
On the last editions of Billboard's pan-European sales charts before Christmas, Led Zeppelin's "Mothership" compilation (Rhino/Atlantic) surged 6-1 in its fifth week on European Top 100 Albums to top the survey for the first time. "Apologize" (Mosley/Blackground/Interscope) by Timbaland presents OneRepublic leads Eurochart Top 100 Singles for a fifth week.