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Steps, Clean Bandit Challenge Ed Sheeran for U.K. Chart Crowns

Step on up, Ed Sheeran's latest challengers...

Sheerios, brace yourselves: Ed Sheeran could get bumped from the summit of both the U.K. singles and albums charts later this week. 

According to midweek data published by the Official Charts Company, reunited pop outfit Steps is a step ahead of Sheeran for the albums chart title, while Clean Bandit is posing a real challenge for the singles crown. 

Steps’ Tears On The Dancefloor (Steps Music), the five-piece pop group’s first album of new works in more than 15 years, is in pole position on the Official U.K. Albums Chart Update with a lead of more than 4,000 combined units over Sheeran’s Divide (Asylum), which has led the tally for the last seven weeks.

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One of Britain’s favorite pop groups in the late ‘90s and early 2000s, Steps clocked up three No. 1 albums in their heyday, and 14 top 10 singles, including three chart leaders. 

Irish singer-songwriter Imelda May is on target for a third top 10 album with Life Love Flesh Blood (Decca), which bows at No. 3 on the midweek chart, while Rag’n’Bone Man’s former chart leader Human (Best Laid Plans/Columbia) is at No. 4 and Texas starts at No. 5 with Jump On Board. New releases from English metalcore act While She Sleeps, British alternative rockers Maximo Park and the posthumous release of David Bowie’s Cracked Actor (Parlophone), a previously unavailable live recording from 1974 which dropped in time for Record Store Day, all crack the top 10.

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On the midweek singles chart, Clean Bandit could snatch the singles chart title with “Symphony,” featuring Zara Larsson. The follow-up to the trio’s smash multi-platinum hit “Rockabye” is about 4,000 combined sales ahead of Sheeran’s “Shape Of You,” which has logged 14 non-consecutive weeks at the top but dips to No. 2 on midweek data. Clean Bandit (with “Rockabye”) and Sheeran are two of only three acts to experience life at the singles chart summit in 2017 (Harry Styles also reached the top for a week with “Sign of the Times” via Atlantic). 

Shawn Mendes’ “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back” (EMI) has the strongest debut at the halfway point of this week’s chart cycle. It’s new at No. 5 on the U.K. Singles Chart Update.

The Official Charts Company’s weekly tallies are published late Friday, local time.