One day to go. And yes, there are more sales updates available as of this morning. But let's remember it is also Christmas. And just as the presents would somehow be less special if you opened them the day before, I think it would spoil any potential surprises too much by revealing exactly how things stand right now. There's still room for the market to flip and for the unexpected to happen, so let's leave the surprise until Friday evening and Radio One's unveiling of the full Christmas chart.
To fill the gap, and given that this liveblog has been speculating wildly since the start of November, I thought it would be fun to contemplate some of the bold predictions that simply didn't come true. I won't make any money out of Christmas Number One this year, my two wild potshots turned out to be badly off-target:
What was I thinking? That perhaps the combining of the sales and streams of both the original and Reimagined versions of This Is Me would send the longest-running hit single of the year soaring to one final chart peak. Alas, when the new version was released its sales boost fell just short of the margin needed for This Is Me to have its ACR status reset. And in any event, there were other reworked Greatest Showman tracks with far more widespread appeal. I'd also wondered if Sam Smith would release the song he performs on the new television production of "Watership Down" which is due to be screened over the holiday. But it didn't happen and he's absent from the Christmas chart.
Both of these were bets I had to specifically request to make. What of the contenders the bookmakers elected to install as favourites right at the very start of this process?
This was the Paddy Power market as of November 7th. Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper were the de-facto favourites, simply because they were the incumbent Number One at the time. A week later they were replaced by the then 7/1 shot Ariana Grande, although that too looks likely to be a losing bet no matter what. Ed Sheeran? Didn't happen, despite vague rumours of a surprise new acoustic release. Elton John spent a surprisingly large amount of time at the head of the market, this based on the use of Your Song in the then-newly minted John Lewis TV ad. But John Lewis songs topping the charts at any time, never mind Christmas, is so five years ago. And for a golden oldie stuck on permanent ACR it was never going to happen. Elton is on the Christmas chart, but with Step Into Christmas. And that's never going to be a Number One contender either.
Earlier this month we discussed some of the more high profile charity contenders, such as the Fire Tones and Flakefleet Primary School. Supporters of both were actively pushing them on social media right up to the start of this week, only to go quiet when it turned out neither had the sales to even challenge. Neither song will make the Top 40 this week, leaving the path clear for a charity record whose very existence was a well-kept secret until a week ago to be the only one to keep pace with the market leaders.
I also had people firing suggestions at me online:
Sorry Phil, Baby Shark just Didn't Happen. The track has spent two months floating around the cusp of the Top 30, sustained it seems almost entirely on endless plays on YouTube. But there was never any chance those were going to convert to actual sales and even audio streams in enough numbers to propel it nearer the top of the charts, no matter how many football supporters sing it too.
In an alternate universe, Zara Larsson might have been up there. If not Ava Max then why not her. But Ruin My Life never did quite have the legs to propel itself to singles chart dizzy heights. Another Didn't Happen for the list.
Finally, for now, a reminder of this particular entry from Paddy Power's brief "Oasis specials" market:
Today, it's gonna be the day when it just Didn't Happen.
More later if any more spring to mind but for now, if you've enjoyed these updates this week, why not put a smile on my face this Christmas and vote for me in the UK Blog Awards: