There is nothing like milking a formula is there? For the third year in a row the popular culture domination of the X Factor TV series manifests itself in the form of a charity ensemble single as performed by the entire cast of finalists, and for the third year running the single charges straight to Number One.
So it is that the one hit wonder act of X Factor Finalists 2010 sits at the very top of the singles chart with Heroes with all proceeds going to the Help For Heroes charity. Equally as inevitably the single debuts at the top of the charts with a very strong sale, its grand total of 144,000 copies is enough to make it the third fastest seller of the year, a total bettered only by Cheryl Cole's Promise This back in October and another charity single, Helping Haiti's Everybody Hurts which did a massive 453,000 in its first week on sale to still be some way out in front. As if to prove however that the novelty of a single sung by all the X Factor stars (including unfortunates such as first ejectee Nicolo) is wearing off slightly, the sale of Heroes continues a downward trend for X Factor charity singles since the concept began two years ago. Back in 2008 the single Hero stormed to Number One with 313,000 copies sold, last year's You Are Not Alone shifting 193,000. Against a backdrop of steadily growing singles sales overall this is a somewhat marked downward trend.
As for the song itself, Heroes will be met with a mixed reaction by hardcore music fans of a certain age, being as it is a bland cover of one of David Bowie's most famous recordings. The title track from his 1977 album, the track wasn't originally a huge hit, limping to mere Number 24 when released in October that year. Since then it has become one of his signature and most familiar tracks, having appeared in countless TV commercials and on film soundtracks over the years. Despite a plethora of cover versions from other acts over the years, including several hit b-sides, the X Factor 2010 Finalists are the first act aside from Bowie ever to have a hit single with the song.
With Ellie Goulding slotting in at Number 2 (albeit with half the sale of the single above her) and last week's Number One from JLS slipping to Number 3 it means that Number 4 is the best Olly Murs can do with new single Thinking Of Me. The second release from last year's X Factor runner up, the track is the follow-up to the Number One Please Don't Let Me Go and features on his self-titled debut album which conveniently enough lands in the shops this week.
You will doubtless read a great deal about the "clean sweep" of boy bands in the album chart Top 3 this week although to refer to Take That as a "boy band" is maybe stretching the point a little. Still, cheesy pop was how they began and so the latest achievement of their 18 year career is a second week at the top of the album chart with Progress. They thus relegate JLS to a Number 2 entry with their second album Outta This World whilst they in turn shut out Westlife who are at Number 3 with Gravity. This marks the second year running that a Westlife album has failed to debut at the top of the charts, 2009 release Where We Are having stalled at Number 2 behind the Susan Boyle juggernaut.
Back on the singles chart, and Rihanna lands herself a Top 10 double once more this week as Number 5 single Only Girl (In The World) is joined by next single 'What's My Name' which rises 8 places to Number 10. Despite her propensity for having singles that cross over one another on the chart, this is actually the first time in her career that she has managed two Top 10 hits in the same week. [It would become habit forming].
In a quiet week for new singles the next highest new entry arrives at Number 25 for Jessie J and Do It Like A Dude. The British singer (real name Jessie Cornish) has been carving out something of a name for herself over the last few years as a songwriter of some note, her highest profile composition to date being her work on the Miley Cyrus track Party In The USA. She now steps up to the plate as a performer for the first time since her career as a child actress and lands herself a chart hit, albeit one whose entry point possibly doesn't quite reflect the enthusiastic level of hype it has received prior to release. Still, the worst you can say about the single is that it is a grower and the true level of her talent is reflected in the numerous Little Boots-esque home brewed videos that litter YouTube. Her album when it emerges next year should be well worth a listen.
YouTube videos are after all a good route to stardom. Ask Justin Bieber for a start, and also the man who has an unexpected new entry at Number 29 this week with his own unique tribute to a particular television anti-hero of the moment. 27 year old Brett Domino has become something of a cult internet celebrity over the past couple of years thanks to his home-brewed renderings of popular songs and take-offs of celebrities, all performed in his own unique keyboard-based style. He has parlayed this into a series of TV appearances, most notably as the "House Band" on the last series of the "Britain's Got More Talent" spin-off show. His sudden launch into the mainstream of the charts comes thanks to a tender ditty he posted online in tribute to television nutritionist Gillian McKeith who is currently the process of flushing her reputation as a rational human being neatly down the toilet thanks to a series of hysterical performances on the current series of "I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here". Just for a change securing a download release as well as posting the video online, Domino now finds himself the creator of an unexpected chart hit with word of mouth causing the single to fly into the download baskets of quite a worrying number of people. This is no one week wonder either, with the single still floating around the iTunes Top 20 as I speak, suggesting it could climb even higher this time next week. When she hears, Gillian McKeith herself may faint with shock, unless she is pretending again.
Oh yes, and brace yourselves. It is not even December yet (at least not by calendar) but the annual pilgrimage of the Christmas classics up the singles chart has begun. Already we have those hardy stalwarts All I Want For Christmas Is You at Number 48 and Fairytale Of New York at Number 51. Plenty more to come as the march towards the festive season continues.