What Song and Artist Will Be Christmas No.1 in the UK?

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What Song and Artist Will Be Christmas No.1 in the UK?
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Betting sites have flipped their Christmas No.1 odds in favour of Wham! just days before the festive charts are released after a surge in popularity for the 1984 classic Last Christmas.

The song has topped the charts in each of the last two weeks and is gathering further momentum ahead of Friday’s Christmas countdown.

The Pogues’ classic Fairytale in New York has dropped off top spot after once being as short as 1/7 to claim the Christmas No.1 gong. So, too, has Creator Universe with their remake of I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday.

Instead, Last Christmas looks set for a showdown with Sam Ryder’s festive hit You’re Christmas To Me.

The song by George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley was released on CD on Monday, as well as a limited edition green vinyl. It is hoped the fresh release will help spur sales ahead of Friday’s deadline.

Speaking to Virgin Radio, Ryder said: “We’re getting ready to respond to the encouragement and good vibes that have been sent our way from just people all over that are enjoying this song. It's such an amazing feeling. Wham!’s trophy cabinet is full to the brim!”

2023 Christmas No.1 Betting

The big shift in betting away from The Pogues and Creator Universe, and towards Wham! and Sam Ryder, is somewhat unexpected. Neither of the new frontrunners appeared on course to challenge the charts this Christmas.

However, Wham! may have been wrongly overlooked. Last Friday was the fifth week in the band’s history that Last Christmas had topped the charts. All five of those weeks have come since 2021.

The race for the Xmas gong this year was blown wide open when LadBaby – winner of the last five festive No.1s – revealed they were not releasing a charity single for 2023.

The Pogues initially held top spot among UK bookmakers following the sad passing of frontman Shane MacGowan. A team of 30 TikTok stars then came together for a collaborative remake of Wizzard's 1973 classic I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday.

But it now looks like both songs will miss out on top spot. Here are the 2023 Christmas No.1 odds right now…

Wham!

Last Christmas topped the charts on 8 December for the fourth time in the song's history. Released in 1984, George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley’s classic took 36 years to reach No.1, and even then it wasn’t for Christmas Day.

The song peaked again in 2022 before fading away. It looked as though Last Christmas would again go too big, too soon. But this time Wham! have held their chart position.

Now, fuelled by a fresh release of the single, there is every chance Wham! finally land a Christmas No.1 single 39 years after Last Christmas was originally released.

It was beaten by Bob Geldof’s Do They Know It's Christmas? last time out, but BetUK give them a 1/3 chance of winning here. Those odds carry a 66.7% probability and places Wham! nicely in the lead.

Sam Ryder

Bookmakers didn’t even consider Sam Ryder a runner for the 2023 Christmas No.1 single when You’re Christmas To Me was released back in early November. The single didn’t get much attention but over the past few days has shot up the charts.

It sat at No.10 in mid-December and has been topping the trending charts. The single got further traction when Ryder performed it on Virgin Radio while promoting his tour.

Some bookmakers have Ryder as short as 2/1 to be the Christmas No.1 this year but others have him as far out as 6/1. That shows how quickly You’re Christmas To Me has caught betting sites off guard and some aren’t sure where to price the former Eurovision entry.

The Pogues

Specials betting sites didn’t have The Pogues in the running for Christmas No.1 until very recently. 

The health update MacGowan shared on social media in November sparked a resurgence of support for the famous band. 

MacGowan had been suffering from viral encephalitis, a potentially life-threatening condition that causes brain swelling. He sadly passed away on November 30.

The Pogues were originally 18/1 to claim the Christmas No.1 spot this year but those odds collapsed to 8/11. Hours after news of MacGowan’s death was shared on social media, the odds of Fairytale of New York came in to as low as 1/7. That price carried an 87.5% probability.

However, the odds couldn’t last. The shift came before other artists had confirmed their Christmas single releases. 

A new price of 7/1 with Bet365 has The Pogues as third favourites now, and the odds are widening.

Fairytale of New York is a classic, usually played towards the end of work Christmas nights out and karaoke nights on dark, cold December evenings. It’s likely to be played a lot more over December.

Creator Universe

Jamie Sellers is a producer who helped LadBaby land Christmas No.1 singles in 2020, 2021 and 2022. 

He’s the force behind Creator Universe’s efforts to get I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday to the top of the charts.

Creator Universe is a collaboration of 30 UK TikTok stars. They have millions of followers combined and proceeds of their single are going to the Trussell Trust.

It is estimated that this winter will be the busiest ever in the UK for food banks, with more than 600,000 people being supported.

Bookmakers threw Creator Universe in at 7/4 to be Christmas No.1 in 2023 and were happy to shrink to odds as tight as 8/13. But the price has since ballooned after I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday failed to make an impact in the December charts.

Now bookies are offering odds as wide as 20/1 on Creator Universe claiming the Xmas gong.

AC/DC

Few bands have such a strong online following as AC/DC and there’s a very real possibility that the boys from Down Under will get the Xmas gong this year.

The AC/DC We Salute You Facebook group has selected Thunderstruck as its chosen single to gun for Christmas No.1, to celebrate 50 years since the band formed.

Ten years ago, the group managed to get Highway To Hell up to No.4 to celebrate the band’s 40th year.

BoyleSports have placed AC/DC at 20/1 to get the gong this year. It may be a tall order but Thunderstruck could be the single that pushes the band over the line.

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Taylor Swift

The Christmas No.1 single is almost always released with the gong in mind. 

Rarely does a single win if it doesn’t relate to Christmas, although the 2003 single Mad World by Michael Andrews and Gary Jules bucked that trend.

Taylor Swift is 40/1 with Bet365 to land the Christmas No.1 not because she has a single out, but because her music is just that popular. 

There’s a very real chance one of Swift’s latest releases from Midnights does enough to take this spot. Equally, were Swift to release a Christmas song then it would almost certainly crush the competition. 

Bookmakers are therefore always going to price her competitively in this market, even if she is planning a quiet Christmas at home watching NFL.

Ed Sheeran

Sheeran (50/1) landed the 2017 Christmas No.1 with Perfect and managed to keep the single at the top of the charts for six weeks. 

Sheeran even joined LadBaby and Elton John for the collaborative Sausage Rolls for Everyone in 2021, which lasted one week at No.1 before quickly dropping out of the charts.

There is no whiff of a Christmas song in the offing just yet but that doesn’t mean Sheeran won’t emerge come December. 

The Sidemen

The YouTubers may well be back for another year after coming close to pinching the Christmas No.1 spot in 2022 with their song Christmas Drillings. 

The song reached No.3 in the charts on Christmas Day, but only 25th in Ireland.

Still, it was an impressive effort from The Sidemen after their 2019 effort Merry Merry Christmas barely registered with the public.

With more than 140m YouTube subscribers, The Sidemen certainly have an audience should they target the Christmas charts in 2023. 

However, it’s likely they would need to collaborate with another artist, or perhaps create a competitive element as they did in 2022, to challenge Creator Universe here - and Betfred have The Sidemen down at 66/1.

Adele

Adele was joint-second favourite with Taylor Swift to land the 2022 Christmas No.1 but her sole single released last year – I Drink Wine – but never got higher than fourth.

There is no album in the pipeline this winter and Adele has, in fact, begun focusing on projects away from music

Her Las Vegas residency has now come to an end - a stint that would have taken up so much of her time that writing and releasing a Christmas single seems unlikely.

At 100/1, betting apps expect a quiet Christmas for Adele.

The Beatles

Now and Then has already been released but there’s a possibility the single could spike around Christmas time. 

The Beatles had four Christmas No.1s between 1963 and 1967, with Hello, Goodbye lasting for seven weeks at the top of the charts.

It wouldn’t be a surprise if Now and Then gathered pace up to Christmas Day, but bookmakers have The Beatles at 100/1.

Slade

Wham’s Last Christmas and All I Want For Christmas by Mariah Carey were third and fourth in the Christmas charts last year. However, Bet365 have Slade at 100/1 on this occasion.

Merry Xmas Everybody is a classic that is played across the country in December.

Now that LadBaby are not releasing a Christmas song and no-one else fills the void, then Slade could end up topping the charts 50 years since they last did so.

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Outside Bet

New betting sites have overlooked The Darkness this year and perhaps for good reason. 

Justin Hawkins and co. haven’t released a Christmas song since 2015, and Christmas Time (Don't Let the Bells End) was pipped to top spot in 2003 by Mad World.

However, The Darkness are back with a 20-year anniversary tour and Don't Let the Bells End remains a popular Christmas single.

Could they re-release the single in time for the Christmas rush? It’s certainly possible, but the bookies are yet to commit to The Darkness. 

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Joe Short

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