With Justin Bieber's Blessing, Charity Choir Edges "Love Yourself" in U.K. Chart Christmas Showdown
"A Bridge Over You" by the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir won the most closely-fought race for the festive honors since 2009.
The U.K.'s coveted Christmas No. 1 single was confirmed today (Christmas Day) as "A Bridge Over You" (Emubands) by the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir. It won the most closely-fought race for the festive honors since 2009, narrowly beating Justin Bieber's "Love Yourself" (Def Jam/Universal) for the top spot. Adele's 25 (XL Recordings) started a fifth week atop the album chart.
The NHS Choir single, a mash-up of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and Coldplay's "Fix You," was recorded in recognition of the work done by doctors, nurses and others in the National Health Service; funds are going to charities including Carers U.K. and Mind. The choir began the sales week ahead of Bieber, who then went into the lead by midweek only to see "Bridge Over You" surge ahead to finish the week with combined chart sales of 127,000, versus 97,000 for "Love Yourself."
Bieber had given the charity release his blessing during the week by tweeting “for one week it's ok not to be #1. Let's do the right thing & help them win." The Canadian superstar nevertheless claimed three of the top five places on the new singles chart, with "Sorry" down from No. 2 to No. 3 and "What Do You Mean" holding at No. 5. Adele's "Hello" remained at No. 4.
The only other newcomer to the top 10 was One Direction's "History" (Syco Music/Sony), which rose from No. 11 to No. 8 in its fifth chart week. Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" (Columbia/Sony) edged up from No. 12 to No. 11, and its fellow Yuletide perennial "Fairytale of New York" (Warner Bros.), by the Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl, climbed from No. 15 to No. 13.
Meanwhile, the erstwhile supremacy of the X Factor brand in the Christmas singles race was seen to have slipped dramatically, as recently crowned 2016 winner Louisa Johnson's cover of Bob Dylan's "Forever Young" (Syco/Sony), which debuted last week at No. 9, fell to No. 12.
Adele's album recorded another huge sales frame with a fifth-week total of nearly 450,000 units. Elvis Presley's If I Can Dream (RCA/Sony Legacy) held at No. 2 with another impressive sales week of 173,000. Bieber's Purpose rose from No. 4 to No. 3, trading places with Coldplay's A Head Full of Dreams (Parlophone/Warner Music), while Jess Glynne's I Cry When I Laugh (Atlantic/Warner) held at No. 5 again. Now That's What I Call Music 92 topped the compilation chart for a fifth week.
This story first appeared on Billboard.com.