Christmas Number One 2019

The 2019 Christmas Number One will be announced at 6pm on Friday, December 20th. This liveblog features all the latest news on what remains the most scrutinised chart race of the year. Who is in contention. And perhaps importantly who is not.

December 18th: 9am

All being well we should get another sales flash later this morning, but for the moment it is worth checking out what the official midweek update, and the news of a surprise race leader, did to the bookmakers' odds.

Paddy Power are taking absolutely no chances:

PaddyPower1812

For the first time in a week or so, Ariana Grande is all but odds against, and Ava Max has naturally moved into place as the narrow favourite and is odds-on. Which given the figures yesterday makes perfect sense.

Over on the Betfair Exchange, there's a similar battle of wills taking place:

Betfair1812

Ava Max is now also trading at odds-on, yet unlike in a horse race where an odds-on favourite would also be layable at odds-on, the best price you can get to lay her is 2.4. This is because by all visible metrics Ava Max is still behind. Ariana has more Spotify streams and is doing about 550,000 British plays a day on YouTube compared to 350,000 for her rival. I would not be surprised to see Ari close the gap or even move into the lead either today or tomorrow, meaning that the 2.6 on Ariana (even if there's only £20 unmatched) looks something of a steal.

December 17th: 6pm

So now it can be revealed. The official midweek charts have been published, based on what is a reasonably complete set of figures from over the weekend (although see caveat below).

The headline news is that we do indeed have a surprise market leader. Presumed by nobody (not even me) to even stand a chance of topping the charts, Sweet But Psycho by Ava Max is the midweek leader. She has just over 17,000 chart sales to her name. Compare that with the 16,000 for thank u, next and the 13,000 for imagine, the two Ariana Grande singles bringing up the rear.

Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas Is You? Not really a factor in this race I'm afraid. Those who were anticipating that she'd enjoy close to a million Spotify plays on Saturday were left surprised when she only had just over half that. It is still the most-streamed track of right now, but with its streams worth half of the contemporary hits on the chart it doesn't have nearly enough of a lead to wipe out that disadvantage. Consequently, the classic remains in fifth place, languishing 5,000 chart sales behind the leaders.

Note that there is still room for the position at the top of the charts to change. This update lacks data from Amazon, Apple and Spotify for Sunday (as expected), whilst chart data from YouTube from the entire weekend has not yet been added to the tallies. Local YouTube numbers are hard to discern from view totals, so we are left guessing whether Ava or Ari has the most eyeballs.

Finally, for now, jammed in between them is the Ladbaby track We Built This City which as expected has now slumped to Number 2. Nobody listens to crap charity songs, they just buy them to make a contribution. So it's streaming numbers are minimal. But the single now appears to have a half-life of purchase volume, having increased its sales by 4,000 on Saturday and just 2,000 on Sunday. If it continues at that rate it will barely break 20,000 total sales by the end of the week, only just enough to scrape the Top 20. Although that's still a far better performance than many other random Christmas charity efforts of recent years, so fair play.

The other charity singles we've noted in recent weeks: Flakefleet Primary at 15. The Fire Tones at 67.

December 17th: 12pm

The "official" midweek numbers are in circulation, although Radio One get an exclusive broadcast of them this evening. That means a strict 6 pm embargo for everyone else and I'll have my festive baubles cut off for breathing a word of it before then.

To fill the time, I've had fun looking at who is sitting on the #xmasno1 hashtag on Twitter. It is being kept busy by social media hard work from some of the charity singles we are already aware of, plus those supporting the rather late to the party Shipyards from The Lake Poets which marooned itself at around 4 or 5 on iTunes at the weekend but which will be lucky to break a few thousand copies in sales by the end of the week.

However, I think this one is my favourite 'under the radar' Christmas chart campaign:

Yes, a valiant effort to propel a random Spice Girls single to the top of the charts. Let's see how much support it has mustered so far shall we?

SpiceFollow

Hmm, could be an uphill battle this one. Or maybe their focus is on Facebook:

SpiceFace

Stop right now. Thank you very much.

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