What Song and Artist Will Be Christmas No.1 in the UK?
Betting sites have witnessed a monumental shift in the 2023 Christmas No.1 betting odds in favour of The Pogues’ classic Fairytale of New York following the death of frontman Shane MacGowan.
MacGowan had been battling illness since June and was recently released from hospital in Dublin with the intention of spending Christmas at home.
Fairytale of New York reached No.2 back in 1987, beaten to the Christmas top spot by the Pet Shop Boys’ Always On My Mind. It remains an ever-present on Christmas playlists around the world.
There had already been a surge of support around the idea of getting the single to the top of the charts 36 years since it was last there.
Ladbaby’s confirmation that they will not push for a sixth successive Christmas hit this year only fuelled speculation that Fairytale of New York could finally top the charts.
And bookmakers across the country reckon The Pogues will finally get the No.1 spot following the sad news of MacGowan’s passing.
Here are the 2023 Christmas No.1 odds right now…
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 passed away on 30 November.
The Pogues were originally 18/1 to claim the Christmas No.1 spot this year but those odds collapsed to 8/11. In the last few hours they’ve sunk to 1/7 and that price carries an 87.5% probability.
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 in the coming days.
Another Christmas classic that was seemingly out of the running until Ladbaby’s withdrawal from the race this year is Wham’s Last Christmas.
The song regularly charts around Christmas time, but George Michael’s classic never hit No.1 on December 25.
UK bookmakers have pushed Wham! into second favourites behind The Pogues but at odds of 5/1, which suggests only a 14.3% likelihood that Last Christmas will finally hit top spot.
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.
Betfred have placed AC/DC at 10/1 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.
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 the song 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 12/1, Betting apps evidently reckon Adele could throw something out there, but it’s likely this would be in collaboration with another artist.
Sheeran 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. He is same as Adele at 12/1 to top the charts.
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 The Pogues here - and Bet365 have The Sidemen down at 12/1.
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 12/1 with Ladbrokes 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.
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 and Betfred have The Beatles at 16/1 here.
Wham’s Last Christmas and All I Want For Christmas by Mariah Carey were third and fourth in the Christmas charts last year. So, it’s no wonder Bet365 have Slade at 16/1 here.
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.
Betting apps 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.
Should any release odds on Hawkins and Co. making a comeback then it could well be a shrewd bet.
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