For only the second time since the introduction of streaming data to the Official UK Singles chart in July last year, the Number One single in Britain is not actually the biggest 'selling' record of the week. During the course of the last seven days, it looked for all the world as if Jess Glynne's Hold My Hand would surrender her chart crown to not one but two different singles, and yet somehow doggedly it hung on. It should be noted that the three weeks old Number One record only had 39,878 people pay for a copy last week (the smallest total by any Number One single since 2008) but her 1.7m streams, equating to a bonus sale of 17,400 copies was enough to give her the edge over her nearest rival.
So, sympathies than to Nick Jonas who at the death is denied a rather sensational appearance at the top of the UK Singles chart with Jealous, the debut single from his second solo album. Until now the former Disney channel star's best chart appearance was alongside his siblings, the Jonas Brothers single S.O.S. having crept to Number 13 in June 2008. His only previous solo single was 2010 release Introducing Me which alas failed to live up to its title and limped to Number 51. The single theoretically had everything going for it, available in both its original and remixed form and benefiting from an appearance by the star on the Graham Norton show at the tail end of last week. Yet despite being far and away the biggest selling record of the moment and despite charting at 113 on streams alone last week, its official chart placing is Number 2, simply because not enough people chose to go online and listen to it. [And slowly and subtly you can feel the world shifting. Little by little it is just no longer enough to sell a lot to top the charts. The world is changing forever right in front of us].
It is not unfair to note that the BBC have to date struggled with the concept of singing talent shows. Their initial answer to the X Factor/Idol juggernaut ten years ago was the more measured and cerebral 'Fame Academy' whose participants (David Sneddon, Sinead Quinn and Alex Parks to name but three) all managed brief chart careers but failed to find lasting fame. Four years ago the broadcaster snapped up the rights to US hit series The Voice but it became a standing joke over the course of the first three series that precisely none of the winners have had anything resembling a hit single. This year it was time to lay that ghost to rest, hence the climax to the fourth series of The Voice UK a week ago saw the release of the show's first ever winners single.
The record handed to show winner Stevie McCrorie was Lost Stars, an Adam Levine song first performed by its composer for the soundtrack of the film "Begin Again". McCrorie's version raced into an immediate sales lead on the download rankings upon release and indeed at the start of last week looked to be almost a lock to take over at Number One and give the beleaguered TV show (and indeed his own career) a much needed shot in the arm. Yet extraordinarily the momentum could not be sustained. By Thursday the single had been toppled from the summit of the iTunes chart and it proceeded to trace a downward path from that moment in. Lost Stars does at least debut at Number 6 this week, far and away the biggest hit single The Voice UK has ever produced, but it is hard not to view this as an opportunity lost.
Also new to the Top 20 this week, Rumours by Dutch duo Pep & Rash which debuts at Number 17.
The expected chart battle for Number One next week is unusually foreshadowed at the lower reaches of the Top 40 chart this week, as the two biggest releases of this week are singles which have already gained a large toehold in the streaming market. Leading the way, in theory, is OMI's cult hit Cheerleader which has been waiting in the wings for the best part of two years now. Having already made the Top 40 last week, the single rises ten places to Number 27, all without selling a copy. To confuse matters, a copycat cover version credited to Normanrockx IS available to buy and charts at Number 49 - something which almost certainly prompted this week's rush release of the original.
However, if Cheerleader is indeed to top the charts next week it will do so after overcoming the challenge of See You Again by Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth. As lifted from the soundtrack of eagerly anticipated movie Furious 7, the rap hit was released to streaming sites last week and immediately charges to Number 22, based mainly on those streams but also on a handful of sales from people who spotted it could briefly be purchased from the film's soundtrack album.
Finally, for this week it seems appropriate to note the slow and steady performance of a trio of singles which might ordinarily have been expected to make more of a splash but which have spent the past few weeks smouldering steadily. Meghan Trainor's third hit Dear Future Husband finally makes a Top 40 debut on the bottom rung with an eight place climb, but just behind her is Kodaline's beautiful ballad The One which climbs to Number 44 whilst the extensively promoted Trouble by Iggy Azalea and Jennifer Hudson rather surprisingly goes into reverse, dipping 43-47.
Oh yes, and it would be rude not to mention that my latest chart history book 'The Top 40 Annual 1988' is now available [still is], detailing every artist and every hit record to reach the charts during the course of that year. Check it out in paperback on Amazon or as an E-book in your favourite digital store of choice.