This is one of those weeks when what appears on the surface to be an intense and closely fought chart battle is actually a little one-sided, with a winning margin of 18,000 copies between the top two tracks. We have a brand new Number One single on the Official UK Singles chart, the track in question one which will already be instantly familiar to a great many people around the world, if only thanks to the rather bemusing delay in releasing it formally in Britain.
Not that the delay has done New Zealand singer Lorde any harm, the teenager flying to the top of the singles chart with her debut hit Royals, in much the same manner as she has done in many other territories, not least the United States. Her journey to Number One on the Hot 100 enabled her to set numerous chart benchmarks, the first Kiwi female to have a Number One single in America and the youngest star to top the charts there since the days of Tiffany way back in 1987. Her arrival at the top of the UK charts doesn't quite bend as many records but by hitting Number One just a few days short of her 17th birthday she ranks as the youngest solo Number One hit-maker since Billie Piper reached Number One at the age of 15 with Because We Want To back in 1998.
Lorde's chart success is at the expense of 2012 X Factor winner James Arthur who was widely expected to open his chart career proper with a second Number One hit single (to follow coronation hit Impossible from the tail end of last year. Instead, You're Nobody Til Somebody Loves You has to content itself with a debut at Number 2, still a very good showing given the rather poor track record of sophomore efforts by X Factor winners to date. Just three X Factor champions - Leona Lewis, Alexandra Burke and Little Mix have followed their winners single with a second Number One hit. Everyone else: Steve Brookstein, Shayne Ward, Leon Jackson, Joe McElderry and Matt Cardle has fallen short (or in Brookstein's case never charted again). James Arthur's single is, chart-topping acts aside, at the very least the highest charting second hit from an X Factor winner since 2005 champion Shayne Ward also hit Number 2 with No Promises in April 2006. Despite the title, You’re Nobody Til Somebody Loves You has no connection with the famous showstopper popularised by Dean Martin in the 1960s but is instead a totally original track co-written by Arthur himself.
Also new to the Top 10 this week at Number 5 are Showtek featuring We Are Loud and Sonny Wilson with Booyah. It marks the chart debut of the Dutch EDM group, consisting of brothers Sjoerd and Wouter Janssen following solid success in the Benelux territories over the past couple of years.
Trailing in at Number 8 are another set of X Factor alumni, 2012's fourth-place boy band Union J who chart with their second single Beautiful Life, the follow-up to Carry You which hit Number 6 back in June. Both singles are from their self-titled debut album which lands in the shops this week.
Whilst we are on the subject, the X Factor results show last weekend saw promotional appearances from two superstar acts, both of whom oddly chose to perform older Number One hits rather than newer material. Robin Thicke performed Blurred Lines rather than his current hit single, although this appears to have had a beneficial effect on both tracks, the biggest selling single of the year rising 33-26 this week whilst Give It 2 U soars 28-15 to land its highest chart placing yet after having previous stalled at Number 27. Katy Perry's live performance of Roar theoretically is behind the 6-4 move of her former Number One hit, but another factor may well have been the long-awaited release of her new album Prism which as you might expect debuts with some ease at Number One on the Official UK Album chart, one place ahead of James Blunt whose Moon Landing is at Number 2.
The other big chart story of the week concerns the big name American acts who are slowly but surely clogging up the singles chart with a series of drip-feed releases. Justin Bieber's third Music Monday track gives him his third Top 40 hit in as many weeks as Hold Tight lands at Number 28 (they are getting smaller, have you noticed?) whilst without warning, Eminem pulled off the same trick last week and dropped a third track from the forthcoming Marshall Mathers LP 2. As the sensation of his own return wears off, new track Survival makes a less spectacular debut at Number 22 as the smallest of his three hits of the moment, although similar sales for all means he sits at Numbers 18, 21 and 22 this week on the chart. Funnily enough, he's prevented from achieving three consecutive hits by one man - Avicii whose singles You Make Me and Wake Me Up are at 19 and 20.
Lady Gaga is also currently engaged in a drip-feed campaign of her own to build up to the release of new album Artpop although eagle-eyed readers will note that her latest release Do What U Want featuring R Kelly is conspicuous by its absence from the chart, despite iTunes indicating it sold strongly during the week. This is because the track is the second Instant Gratification single to accompany pre-release orders of the album, lead track Applause being the other. Official Charts Company rules prohibit more than one single being made available in this manner so whilst Applause sits at Number 50 this week both her new release and indeed much-awaited new release Venus are disqualified from the listings until November 11th when the pre-release promotion ends.