Entertainment & Arts

Ben Haenow takes lead in race for Christmas number one

Ben Haenow Image copyright PA
Image caption Ben Haenow's CD single will hit the shops on Wednesday

X Factor winner Ben Haenow has taken an early lead in the race for Christmas number one, the Official Chart Company has revealed.

The former van driver sold 75,000 copies of his winner's single, Something I Need, on Sunday and Monday.

He is 23,000 sales ahead of the current number one, Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars's Uptown Funk.

The balance could be tipped when physical sales and streaming data are counted in Sunday's Christmas chart.

Haenow, 29, from Croydon, was considered a surprise winner of X Factor on Sunday night.

But voting patterns released by ITV showed that he had topped the public vote from the fourth week onwards.

He claimed 57.2% of the votes cast in the final, easily beating bookmakers' favourite Fleur East, who had 34.3% of the vote, and third place contestant Andrea Faustini, on 8.5%.

'Genuine battle'

His single, a cover of a One Republic song, was available for download immediately after the X Factor Final on Sunday.

However, it will not be available in shops until Wednesday, with proceeds going towards children's charity Together For Short Lives.

The CD sales could boost its chances of claiming the Christmas number one slot - but the inclusion of streaming data in the official chart countdown, which began in July, could upset that.

"Uptown Funk has a strong head start on the streaming front and is already the second most streamed track of the week," said the Official Charts Company.

"The current streaming trend tends to favour songs that have been available for several weeks as awareness for songs grows and they are added to playlists, meaning the addition of streaming data could favour Mark Ronson considerably.

"Uptown Funk was streamed 1.35 million times last week, and with 100 streams equating to one purchase on the Official Chart, this contributed 13,500 additional sales."

Power of X Factor

Whoever makes number one will have the X Factor to thank. Ronson's track was performed by Fleur East in the semi-final, prompting the single to be rush-released five weeks ahead of schedule.

Other artists expected to benefit from the show include One Direction, who performed new single Where Do Broken Hearts Go on the final; and US rock band Imagine Dragons, whose song Demons is expected to enter the top 40 after Haenow covered it on Saturday.

Elsewhere, The Pogues look set to enter the top 10 with Fairytale of New York for the first time in seven years, thanks again to streaming. Band Aid 30, which was released to raise money to fight Ebola, is currently at number 13.

Official Charts Company chief executive Martin Talbot said: "The week of the Christmas number one race is always among the most exciting in the Official Singles Chart calendar - and early data indicates that we have a genuine battle on our hands in 2014."

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