- For the third week in a row, the Christmas #1 is the debut single from the winner of the UK's answer to American Idol (which was the answer to the UK's now defunct Pop Idol). This year it's Leon Jackson, who is apparently the surprise winner, charting with his remake of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston's 1998 hit "When You Believe." Although it was a flop in the US, the Prince of Egypt Soundtrack single was a hit in the UK, hitting #4. The lyrics have been changed a bit for this solo version, but it's pretty much the same ballad/pop, soaring chorus routine. Last year's X Factor/Christmas #1 was also a remake, Leona Lewis' rendition of Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This." Shayne Ward's single, "That's My Goal," was an original. Both Leona and Shayne are around again this year--Leona with her massive former #1 "Bleeding Love," down a spot to #3 this week, and Shayne at #15 with his treacly ballad "Breathless."
- The Christmas singles that had been surging up the chart the last few weeks actually abated a bit this week. Mariah Carey, Wham, and Wizzard all took a tumble, and Slade, Andy Williams, Shakin' Stevens, Band Aid, and Chris Rea hold or make only modest gains. The exception is The Pogues, who manage a four-spot climb to #4 to become the Christmas chart's biggest Christmas single with "Fairytale of New York." This is the third year in a row the single has made a year-end top 10 appearance, beating last year's #6 placing, but falling just short of the #3 spot it reached in 2005.
- Amy Winehouse makes a return to the top 10 at #8 with "Valerie." The track has now spent 11 weeks in the top 10. I wouldn't be surprised to see this in the year-end top 10, despite it not having been at #1 hit.
- Sugababes make a poor showing at #13 with "Change." The pre-release digital sales weren't that great, and the airplay wasn't that strong either. The last time the 'Babes tried a Christmas week release, "Ugly," it gave them a #3 hit, but back in 2003, their lauded release "Too Lost in You" made only #10. That "Change" follows their massive #1 hit "About You Now" makes its poor placement all the more disappointing.
- Kylie Minogue makes an early appearance for her next single, "Wow," at #32, owing to her performance of the song during the last episode of X Factor. I expect this will fall out of the top 40 but reappear before its official release in late February.
- Flo Rida has the first #1 hit of 2008 with "Low." This is the first year since 1991 that the first week of the year brings a new #1 hit rather than a continuation of the run of #1 hit from the previous year. In 1991, the new year began with Madonna's "Justify My Love" taking over for 1990's last #1, Stevie B's "Because I Love You (The Postman Song)." Flo Rida (a not so clever botching of the state name) ends the 5-week reign of Alicia Keys' "No One."
- Fergie holds a third week at #5 with "Clumsy." It's the fifth top 5 hit from The Dutchess, giving Fergie a cheat feat not achieved since Janet Jackson scored 5 (or rather 7) top 5 hits from her album Rhythm Nation 1814 between 1989 and 1991.
- New artist Sara Bareilles storms the top 10 at #9 with her first hit single "Love Song." The track debuted in the top 40 at #16 last week.
- Britney Spears scores her 13th top 40 hit at #21 with "Piece of Me," the follow-up to her #3 hit "Gimme More" and Rihanna scores her 9th at #34 with "Don't Stop the Music." The track is second recent hit to sample a song from Michael Jackson's Thriller--due for a special 25th anniversary release early next year. The track samples "Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'." Kanye West's recent top 10 hit, "The Good Life" sampled "PYT (Pretty Young Thing."