Who will be Christmas No 1? Contenders and odds for 2023 festive top spot

Who will take the coveted top spot this Christmas?

Christmas is almost here, which means it’s nearly time for the Christmas No 1 to be announced.

The prestigious ranking is something of a Christmas tradition, with recent years dominated by charitable endeavours.

LadBaby have scooped the top spot for the past five years with singles raising money for the UK’s food bank charity The Trussell Trust.

But with the husband-and-wife duo out of the festive running this year, it’s all to play for.

Who is a contender for the Christmas No 1?

Wham! George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley in Wham! Credit: Courtesy of Netflix ? 2023 TV still Netflix
George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley in Wham! (Photo: Netflix)

Classic Christmas anthems and contemporary tunes are battling it out to take the top spot in 2023.

‘Last Christmas’ by Wham!

This classic festive hit is the favourite for the Christmas crown in 2023.

Originally released in 1984, it reached number two in the Christmas charts, where it was kept off the top spot by Band Aid’s ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’.

The melancholy song has reached the dizzy hits of number one in 2021, 2022 and January 2023, but has never scooped the prized Christmas No 1 spot.

‘You’re Christmas to Me’ by Sam Ryder

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 10: Sam Ryder attends Capital's Jingle Bell Ball 2023 at The O2 Arena on December 10, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Alan Chapman/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Sam Ryder is in the running for the Christmas top spot (Photo: Alan Chapman/Dave Benett/Getty)

The UK Eurovision runner-up is a close second behind Wham!, with his song ‘You’re Christmas to Me’.

‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’ by Creator Universe

Creator Universe – a collection of more than 30 TikTok stars – is also in the running for the Christmas No 1 with their cover of Wizzard’s 1973 hit ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’.

The song was only released on 15 December, with profits going to The Trussell Trust.

Influencers involved in the song include The Famileigh, Amy-Jo Simpson and Rosie McClelland.

‘Fairytale Of New York’ by The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl

Arguably one of the most poignant and rousing Christmas songs in the shortlist, the classic single, which was originally released in 1988, has made a surprise return to the charts in 2023.

An online campaign for the song to reach the top spot has gathered pace following the death of The Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan in November, something his wife, Victoria May Clarke, has supported.

She said the song “should be the Christmas No 1, it absolutely should. I’m very much in favour of that”.

She added: “I don’t think [getting to number one] was ever that important to him, because I think he really appreciated the fact that so many people love it and it means so much to so many people, and being number one isn’t really all about being appreciated.”

MacGowan’s birthday also fell on Christmas Day.

Kirsty MacColl died in a boating accident in December 2000.

‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ by Mariah Carey

The US singer missed out on the Christmas top spot back in 1994, with East 17’s ‘Stay Another Day’ taking the crown.

The song broke UK chart records when it hit number one in December 2020, 26 years after its release – and it has been in the Christmas top 40 every year since 2007.

What are the current odds for the Christmas No 1?

Bookmakers have tipped Wham! to take the top spot in 2023.

Alex Apati, of Ladbrokes, tells i: “Plenty have headed the betting over the last few weeks, but the latest odds suggest Wham! have peaked at just the right time, with punters seemingly convinced a first festive top spot is on the cards for ‘Last Christmas’.”

Wham! – 1/33
Sam Ryder – 12/1
The Pogues – 16/1
Creator Universe – 33/1

William Hill spokesperson, Lee Phelps, tells i: “Wham! have come close a few times to topping the Christmas charts throughout the years with their iconic ‘Last Christmas’ single, but this looks like a banker now.

“We’ve suspended betting on them being Christmas No 1 this year, having previously taken plenty of bets all the way down to odds of 1/6, with George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley seemingly defying this month’s Whamageddon.

“There have been twists and turns in the betting in this year’s festive chart-topper, with The Pogues strong favourites during the early parts of December, but the momentum behind Wham! has snowballed in the past 10 days and we think it’s as good as locked in.”

When is the UK Christmas No 1 announced?

The UK 2023 Christmas No 1 will be announced from 4pm on Friday 22nd December on BBC Radio 1’s The Official Chart.

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