It’s the most wonderful time of the year, which can only mean one thing – the race for the Official Christmas Number 1 is coming.
The 2021 Official Christmas Number 1 will be announced on Friday, December 24, but who is in line for this year’s festive chart crown? With 2021 marking the UK’s 70th Official Christmas Number 1, competition for the top spot is shaping up to be fiercer than ever.
The Christmas Number 1 is a British institution – and often the most unpredictable chart race of the year. Previous festive chart-toppers have been claimed by music icons – including Spice Girls, Queen and The Beatles - to cartoon characters, punk-rock disruptors, TV talent show winners, and all-star charity records. Look back at every Official Christmas Number 1 here.
Last year saw LadBaby (aka YouTuber Mark Hoyle) who, with the help of his family and a lot of sausage rolls, secured a rarely-seen hat-trick of Christmas Number 1s with Don’t Stop Me Eatin’, following We Built This City (2018) and I Love Sausage Rolls (2019). Money raised from the singles went to foodbank charity The Trussell Trust.
If LadBaby enters this year’s race, he could equal The Beatles’ record of four Christmas Number 1s – and it would be the first time four festive chart-toppers have been achieved consecutively.
This year’s confirmed crop of contenders will face off against the seasonal classics, including Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You and Last Christmas by Wham!, both of which have topped the Official Singles Chart in recent years thanks to their popularity on streaming.
Scott Mills, host of The Official Chart Show on Radio 1 said: “It’s my favourite chart of the year and I’m so excited to host it!”
The 2021 Official Christmas Number 1 contenders
Ed Sheeran & Elton John - TBA
Ed and Elton have both enjoyed Number 1 success in 2021, and ever since news broke that they have recorded a Christmas song together, they’ve been hotly tipped for this year’s top spot. Both are experienced when it comes to landing a festive hit: Ed claimed 2017’s Christmas Number 1 with Perfect, while Elton’s 1973 hit Step Into Christmas has re-entered the Top 10 for the past two years.
ABBA – Little Things
Comeback icons ABBA enter the race for the first time with Little Things, their first ever Christmas single. A song that reflects on the joy of Christmas morning, the track will be released on CD on December 3, while a music video will also be released to accompany the song.
George Ezra – Come On Home For Christmas
George has reworked the Charles Brown’s 1960 single as part of Amazon Music’s now annual festive offerings. Following in the footsteps of Jess Glynne’s This Christmas and Ellie Goulding’s River, can George revive this forgotten classic and take it all the way to Number 1? The track last appeared in the Official Singles Chart in 1994, when Bon Jovi’s cover peaked at Number 7.
Several tracks from Adele’s new album 30 are already proving hugely popular on the Official Chart – could one of them claim the Christmas top spot? As well as its Number 1 lead single Easy On Me, songs Oh My God and I Drink Wine are performing well.
Gary Barlow & Sheridan Smith
On his first Christmas album, titled The Dream Of Christmas, Gary has teamed up with star of stage and screen Sheridan Smith on the sparkly new track How Christmas Is Supposed To Be.
The K**ts - TBA
Following last year's expletive-laden Boris Johnson Is A F**king C**t, which reached Number 5 on 2020's Official Christmas Chart, the band are back with another controversial aim at Christmas Number 1 glory. Can they go all the way this time?
The Lathums – Krampus
Can the Wigan band build on the chart-topping success of their debut album from earlier this year? Krampus – as the title suggests – is technically an anti-festive number, but in the most wonderfully British way, singing about the end of the world and cancelling Christmas. Listen here.
Gypsy Pistoleros – Livin La Vida Loca (World Anthem)
Backed by Jon Morter - who famously led the campaign that blocked X Factor winner Joe McElderry from landing the Christmas Number 1 with Rage Against The Machine’s Killing In The Name - Gypsy Pistoleros could be a surprise contender for this year’s top spot. The flamenco rock rumba punk 'n' roll band have covered Ricky Martin’s Livin La Vida Loca with a Day Of The Dead twist, which is available to download on December 17. All proceeds go to housing and homeless charity Shelter.
Olivia Dean – The Christmas Song
Rising London artist Olivia Dean is set to make her Official Chart breakthrough with holiday standard The Christmas Song – made famous by Nat King Cole - recorded as part of Amazon’s festive releases.
The 2021 Official Christmas Number 1 race kicks off at 12.01am on December 17, until 11.59pm December 23. Top 100 Official Christmas Singles Chart and Albums Chart will be published on OfficialCharts.com from 5.45pm.
Of course, anything can happen in the biggest and most unpredictable chart race of the year, for one we wouldn’t put it past LadBaby to throw his hat into the ring to go for that all-time Official Chart record of four Christmas Number 1s. Stay tuned for new additions to the contenders line-up as the starting horn draws near.
Follow the Official Christmas Number 1 race
The Official Christmas Number 1 race 2021 kicks off Friday December 17 with sales and streams counting up until midnight (11.59pm) on Thursday, December 23.
Tune in to The Official Chart on BBC Radio 1 on Christmas Eve from 4pm to hear the Christmas Top 40 countdown and the exclusive reveal of the Official Christmas Number 1 2021. You can also catch Top Of The Pops on BBC One on Christmas Day, more details of the broadcast to come.
The full Top 100 Official Christmas Singles Chart and Albums Chart will be published on OfficialCharts.com from 5.45pm.