In the last charts before the U.K.'s coveted Christmas No. 1 titles are revealed on Christmas Day, Sunday's (Dec. 18) new data showed Michael Bublé regaining the album chart crown with "Christmas" (Reprise/Warner Music). Little Mix, the female quartet who won last week's "X Factor" final, debuted atop the singles chart with a cover of Irish singer-songwriter Damien Rice's "Cannonball" (Syco Music/Sony Music Entertainment), with the best first-week sale of any single in the market in 2011, with 210,000.
Bublé's album sold 269,000 units last week, an increase of 42% on the week before, according to the Official Charts Company. "Christmas" is in its eighth week on the chart, on which it first climbed to No. 1 last month. It now succeeds Amy Winehouse's "Lioness: Hidden Treasures" (Universal Island), which fell to No. 2 as all top six titles recorded sales north of 100,000 units. Coldplay's "Mylo Xyloto" (Parlophone/EMI) was the big gainer, rebounding 8-3, but there were no new entries in the top 40. "Now! That's What I Call Music 80" (EMI TV/Universal Music TV) began a fourth week at the top of the compilation chart.
Little Mix have landed the customary chart-topping berth for an "X Factor" winner, but they may not take the U.K.'s always-fascinating Christmas No. 1 honors. The bookmakers' hot favorite to achieve that feat on Christmas Day are the Military Wives, a choir of wives of servicemen assembled for a recent BBC TV documentary, with "Wherever You Are" (Decca/Universal). But for this week, Little Mix have the top spot ahead of Coldplay's "Paradise," which climbed five places to a new peak of No. 2, and Olly Murs' "Dance With Me Tonight" (Epic/Sony Music Entertainment), which fell from the summit to No. 3. Both the Coldplay single and album were boosted by the band's live performance on the "X Factor" series final Dec. 11.
Leona Lewis' new version of the Nine Inch Nails also closely associated with Johnny Cash, "Hurt" (Syco Music/Sony Music Entertainment), debuted at No. 8, while Rice's original version of "Cannonball" re-charted at No. 19. The song reached No. 32 in the U.K. on first release in 2003 and also hit No. 19 on a 2004 reissue. It resurged to No. 9 after Little Mix performed it during the "X Factor" series, and rises anew after the group covered it again, as did runner-up Marcus Collins, in the final.
Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" (Columbia/Sony Music Entertainment) and "Fairytale of New York" (Warner Bros./Warner Music) by the Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl both improved their positions to sit close to the new top ten, Carey 12-11 and the Pogues 15-13. "All I Want" is on its fifth separate run in the top 20 and seventh in the top 40: "Fairytale" has reached the top 20 in each of the last seven years, and the top 40 nine times in total.