THE LATEST. Highs and lows from the pop frontline

Which X Factor finalist would have the lowest-selling Christmas Number One?

Posted by Popjustice on Dec 09 2014 at about 10:14


Following news of its release being pulled forward yesterday evening, we put a bet on Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’ ‘Uptown Funk’ being this year’s Christmas Number One.

It’s already Number One on iTunes (with Fleur’s version at Number Two), but its main competition comes from this year’s X Factor winner, so it’s important to figure out which winner would achieve the lowest first week sales, then vote for that finalist.

To start with, let’s have a look at the week one sales (nicked off Twitter’s Samuel Bailey) for all X Factor winners so far.

  • Shayne Ward 742K
  • Alexandra Burke 576K
  • Leona Lewis 571K
  • James Arthur 490K
  • Joe McElderry 451K
  • Matt Cardle 439K
  • Leon Jackson 276K
  • Little Mix 210K
  • Sam Bailey 149K
  • Steve Brookstein 128K

As you can see, last year’s winner Sam Bailey only achieved 149,000 sales, while the previous year’s winner James Arthur shifted almost half a million copies of his own winner’s single. It’s therefore fair to say that some winners connect with a record buying audience, while others simply don’t.

So where does this leave this year’s finalists?

Andrea Fauxhumble-pugjumper


The threat of a full Andrea artist album is not a pleasant one, but Andrea’s whole mum-loving, jumper-wearing schtick is Christmas catnip. Still, while children like him and The Olds like him, what about pop’s squeezed middle?

Predicted first week sales: 290,000

All-bets-are-off secret weapon: We’ve said this every year for the last however-many-years-it’s-been-since-the-song-came-out but one day an X Factor winner will cover Carolina Liar’s ‘Show Me What I’m Looking For’, and it will be an extraordinary pop moment. If Andrea performs this for his winner’s single it’s game over for Ronson & Mars.

Fleur East


She should win and she should have the full might of Syco hurled in her direction during 2015, but would Fleur East be the biggest-selling winner out of this year’s final three? Well, yes, probably. Her appeal crosses numerous boundaries, she’d be unlikely to inspired a ‘protest vote’ for Ronson & Mars simply because there’s nothing shit about her, and goodwill towards her ‘Uptown Funk’ cover will carry on over into purchases of her winner’s single, even if it’s not ‘Uptown Funk’.

Predicted first week sales: 410,000

All-bets-are-off secret weapon: Ideally we’d like her to cover Tove Lo’s album, Charli XCX’s album and Rita Ora’s album so that each of their release dates is brought forward to 2014.

Ben Haenow


Without a doubt the most useless of this year’s three finalists.

Predicted first week sales: 149,000

All-bets-are-off secret weapon: If he covers Crowded House’s ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ the “hey now, hey now” bit could secure a romp to festive victory.

Wildcard: Bootcamp Girlband


It’s not too late for the potentially brilliant girlband from earlier in the series to be sensationally brought back into the show. They should call themselves Wildcard.

Predicted first week sales: 5,000,000

All-bets-are-off secret weapon: It’s been a while since the quintessential girlband Christmas Number One, ‘Sound Of The Underground’, has had a go at the festive top-spot. If Wildcard covered this, they’d be laughing all the way to the bank (in order to point and laugh at us not depositing our winnings).


Please vote for Ben Haenow this weekend, we stand to win over £300 if Ronson & Mars hit Number One and a win for Ben Haenow would give us the strongest chance of scooping the prize. Cheers!

Invader Girl’s next single is as good as her last single, ie very

Posted by Popjustice on Dec 08 2014 at about 14:42


Invader Girl is a brilliant pop thing.

Earlier this year she chucked out a great song called ‘Starting Fires’ (which was accompanied by a very excellent MSMR remix).

But the past is the past. “Yesterday is history,” as Justin Timberlake once put it. We all move on and so does Invader Girl.

Below is your first look at her next track ‘Stuck On Me’, which is a teaser in the very literal sense in that it cuts out just before the song ‘goes off’, but you can hear enough song to know that what we’re dealing with here is a very interesting tune.

Very good.

In case you missed it when it came out, this is the brilliant ‘Starting Fires’.

The full version of ‘Stuck On Me’ will probably turn up on another website in due course so your best bet is to follow Invader Girl on Twitter and she will let you know not only when but also where the song appears.

2014 AZ: E and F are for East, Fleur

Posted by Popjustice on Dec 08 2014 at about 12:26


2014azIn case you are interested, the definitive ranking of 2014’s UK X Factor finalists – three of whom made such little impression that we had to Google Image search them when we were copying this list off Wikipedia – is:

=1. Fleur East
=1. Only The Young
3. Stephanie Nala
4. Stereo Kicks
5. Lauren Platt
6. Overload Generation
7. Blonde Electra
8. Andrea Fauxnaive-Pugjumper
9. Jack Walters
10. Stevi Ritchie
11. Lola Saunders
12. Jay James
13. Paul Akister
14. Ben Haenow
15. ‘Jake Quickenden’
16. Chloe Jasmine

That list’s in order of actually wanting to sit through an entire album by an artist.

We’ve already written about the potentially mighty Only The Young but Fleur East’s been the best solo act since Judges’ Houses and her weekend performance of ‘Uptown Funk’ was the most exciting moment of the entire series.

More exciting than David Guetta waving his arms around near four CDJs. More exciting than ‘Reece Bibby’ trying to get Only The Young voted off the show. Even more exciting than Fifth Harmony performing a b-side. And what you have to remember here is that Fleur didn’t even perform the best bit of the song. Perhaps this was for health and safety reasons. If she had done the ‘Oops Upside Your Head’ bit, there may now just be a crater where Fountain Studios once stood.

Considering ‘Uptown Funk’ isn’t out in the UK (and pretty much just the UK) until next year, Fleur’s was a performance that threw up a lot of questions. Why did Simon Cowell only hear the song five days ago when the song’s amazingness has been established for well over a month? If Mark Ronson’s version of ‘Uptown Funk’ had suddenly appeared on iTunes on Sunday morning, would it be sailing up the charts now, or is it best to keep building anticipation for a big 2015 release? Did everyone know the performance would be really amazing, or was there a genuine sense of jeopardy?  Is it annoying if the performance was some sort of Sony inside job aimed at promoting a forthcoming release, or – considering the fact that it’s nice to think someone, somewhere in the music industry occasionally comes up with some good ideas when it comes to getting great new songs some attention – would it actually be more annoying if one of Q4’s greatest marketing masterstrokes had actually been a complete accident?

Either way, Fleur’s version of ‘Uptown Funk’ is the first of this year’s X Factor contestant performances to hit Number One on iTunes.


Whichever act wins The X Factor this coming weekend, Fleur’s now established herself as the one who deserves and will undoubtedly get The Full Ella (FKA The Full Leona) when it comes to career rollout. All she needs now is a debut single as good as ‘Uptown Funk’.