Thursday, 14 January 2021

Top of the Pops, 14th January 2021

All the Christmas songs suddenly disappear into the ether, leaving room for some monster climbs by the rest of them. The resulting line-up is more or less a who's who of anyone who's anyone: Justin Bieber, Dua Lipa, Queen Ariana Grande (performing most of her album), Taylor Swift. They are ably supplemented by some chart favourites from the second half of 2020 in Tate McRae, Meduza and KSI.

Perhaps the most surprising climb of all is the Little Mix song, which leaps the eight places needed to hit the top almost out of nowhere. They give an ebullient performance, and give us a bit of their (so far) more minor hit No Time For Tears as an encore.

Debuts: None.

Dua Lipa - Levitating

Up 63 to number 5

Justin Bieber - Anyone

Highest New Entry - In at number 4

Taylor Swift - Willow

Up 22 to number 12

KSI ft. Craig David and Digital Farm Animals - Really Love

Up 22 to number 14

Meduza ft. Dermot Kennedy

Up 19 to number 10

Tate McRae - You Broke Me First

High Climber - Up 65 to number 9

Ariana Grande - 34 + 35 / Positions / POV

Up 12 to number 8 / Up 23 to number 22 / Back in at number 52

Little Mix - Sweet Melody / No Time For Tears

Up 8 to number 1 / Up 38 to number 24

PRESENTER: Heidi Range (from an abandoned hairdresser's)

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Top of the Pops, 7th January 2021

It's a strange chart this week, as many Christmas faves get one last kick up the chart even as the pine-scented magic fades, while long runners from last year rub shoulders with hopefuls for 2021. Amid all that, Asian Dub Foundation and Stewart Lee are an entirely unexpected presence.

The glorious and ludicrously belated number 1 from Wham! aside, the editorial decision is to concentrate on non-Christmas material here, so there's room for friends of the show Miley Cyrus and Dua Lipa, alongside bright young things CJ, Shane Codd and Kid Laroi. All this and the return of Ed Sheeran.

Debuts: Shane Codd, Stewart Lee, Asian Dub Foundation (seemingly)

Miley Cyrus ft. Dua Lipa - Prisoner

Up 7 to number 28

Ed Sheeran - Afterglow

Up 17 to number 13

Shane Codd - Get Out Of My Head

Up 16 to number 22

Asian Dub Foundation ft. Stewart Lee - Comin' Over Here

Highest New Entry - In at number 65

CJ - Whoopty

Up 8 to number 14

Kid Laroi - Without You

Up 5 to number 26

Little Mix - Sweet Melody / No Time For Tears

Up 11 to number 9 / Up 12 to number 62

From The Vault: Wham! - Last Christmas

Up 2 to number 1


Sunday, 3 January 2021

Fantasy Top of the Pops 2020 round-up

Happy new year once again!

We're excited to bring you the year's round-up. We don't need to spend too long discussing the real-life Christmas and New Year Top of the Pops editions - it was good to see them as usual, but the line-up was as bizarre as ever. Celeste, for example, had no hits last year (again!) and seems to have been featured (again!) as part of ongoing BBC/industry attempts to crown her as a next big thing - the opposite of what Top of the Pops is meant to be about.

Back in fantasy land, where it's much sunnier even though Covid is still a thing, here are the top eleven TOTP artists for the year:

In joint eighth place with ten appearances is DaBaby. The highest-placed TOTP debutant for this year, DaBaby was all over the show in the first half of the year, mainly thanks to collaborations with Camila Cabello and Roddy Ricch, plus one performance of his own hit Find My Way.

Also in joint eighth place with ten appearances is Mabel. Two hits of her own plus collaborations with Clean Bandit and AJ Tracey gave Mabel her strongest year so far.

And also in joint eighth place with ten appearances is Drake. Drake appeared on nine different tracks this year, with Toosie Slide being the biggest, but even short-lived songs of his (or features) often charted highly at least for a week or two. That's good enough for the chart legend's third best TOTP year.

And also in joint eighth place with ten appearances is Ariana Grande. Queen Ariana took until the end of the year to really get going, but once she let the big guns loose she was all but impossible to shift from the top of the chart.

In joint sixth place with eleven appearances is Roddy Ricch. After only one previous appearance on the show, Ricch was ever-present on the chart in the first half of the year thanks to his two huge hits, The Box and Rockstar.

Also in joint sixth place with eleven appearances is Joel Corry. He appeared a few times in 2019, but 2020 was the breakout year for Corry. Lonely and then the megahit Head and Heart made him a mainstay right through the year.

In joint third place with twelve appearances is Harry Styles. Styles impressed a lot of people with his classy pop this year, and twelve appearances with three very solid hits gives him a better year than One Direction ever achieved.

Also in joint third place with twelve appearances is AJ Tracey. Arguably britrap's hottest MC at the moment, Tracey followed up a very strong 2019 with an even better 2020. His own West Ten was a big hit, and he also collaborated with Stormzy, Aitch, Mostack and Headie One, rarely leaving the top ten for months at a time.

In second place with fifteen appearances is Dua Lipa. No one can deny the year Dua has had, and that's been reflected in the charts and TOTP appearances. She brought five different songs from the Future Nostalgia album into the TOTP studio, and even more impressively, just about every appearance was as lead artist.

And in first place with nineteen appearances is The Weeknd. Another artist who had a huge album this year, The Weeknd had his best ever TOTP year (even beating 2015) with notably long-running hits Blinding Lights and In Your Eyes, as well as a collaboration with Calvin Harris. He doesn't quite match the 21 appearances Lewis Capaldi managed last year, but he has been a constant presence on the TOTP screen (via Zoom) and richly deserves his place at the top of this list.

Finally, here's the updated all-time Fantasy TOTP list:

1 Ed Sheeran (80)
2 Ariana Grande (57)
= Little Mix (57)
4 Dua Lipa (55)
5 Drake (49)
6 The Weeknd (43)
= Sam Smith (43)
= Clean Bandit (43)
9 Justin Bieber (43)
= Calvin Harris (42)
11 Camila Cabello (37)
12 Stormzy (35)
== Jess Glynne (35)
== Rita Ora (35)
15 Ellie Goulding (33)
== George Ezra (33)
17 Jason Derulo (32)
18 Khalid (29)
== Zara Larsson (29)
20 Jax Jones (28)
== Shawn Mendes (28)

Ed Sheeran only appeared once this year, but he looks safe at the top for a while to come. Ariana jumps up to tie Little Mix for second place, and The Weeknd's big year makes him the highest new entrant to the top 20. Rita Ora, Ellie Goulding and George Ezra are the highest-places artistes who didn't appear on the show at all (except maybe as part of the lockdown charity record).

That's all. Let's hope 2021 is a better year!

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Top of the Pops, 17th December 2020

With Christmas just over a week away, it's necessary to invite the self-appointed Mr Christmas Michael Buble on to the show to perform two of his deathless swing-music anthems. Peppier Christmas fare comes from Leona Lewis, Justin Bieber and throwback footage of Brenda Lee. But the big story, of course, is Mariah Carey finally making it to the top after all these years.

Non-tinselly material comes from Kid Laroi, The Weeknd and especially Ariana Grande, whose hows-your-father anthem makes the perfect antidote for anyone who needs it.

Debuts: Kid Laroi.

Leona Lewis - One More Sleep

Up 8 to number 25

Kid Laroi - Without You

Back in at number 23

Justin Bieber - Mistletoe

Up 7 to number 36

Ariana Grande - 34 + 35

Up 1 to number 9

The Weeknd - Blinding Lights

Long Runner - Up 7 to number 39 after 54 weeks

From The Vault: Brenda Lee - Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree

Up 4 to number 15

Michael Buble - It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas / Holly Jolly Christmas

Up 6 to number 7 / Up 7 to number 30

Mariah Carey - All I Want For Christmas Is You

Up 1 to number 1

PRESENTER: Bruce Willis, in character as John McClane

Thursday, 10 December 2020

Top of the Pops, 10th December 2020

The Christmas chart onslaught begins in earnest, although Covid being what it is, several of the original artists are available to remote-perform their evergreen hits. So as well as the archive footage of Elton, we have appearances from friend of the show Jess Glynne, Kelly Clarkson and the grande dame of Christmas herself, Mariah Carey (with a few special invitees). Even Queen Ariana Grande chucks in a bit of festivity alongside her immovable number 1 bonking anthem.

Non-Christmassy fun comes from Miley Cyrus, Liam Gallagher and CJ. Congratulations to them for impinging on the nation's mostly mince pie-focused consciousness.

Debuts: None.

Miley Cyrus - Midnight Sky

Up 2 to number 5

Jess Glynne - This Christmas

Up 35 to number 28

Liam Gallagher - All You're Dreaming Of

In at number 35

Kelly Clarkson - Underneath The Tree

Up 26 to number 20

CJ - Whoopty

Up 1 to number 11

From The Vault: Elton John - Step Into Christmas

Up 31 to number 18

Mariah Carey with Kelly Clarkson, Jess Glynn, Liam Gallagher and AJ Tracey - All I Want For Christmas Is You

Up 12 to number 2

Ariana Grande - Positions / Santa Tell Me

Sixth week at number 1 / Back in at number 16

PRESENTERS: Olly Murs dressed as Santa and Nick Grimshaw dressed as an elf

Thursday, 3 December 2020

Top of the Pops, 3rd December 2020

It's December and the big guns are coming out. BTS, Mendes and Bieber and Cyrus and Lipa all take their best shots at the chart, although for the moment they are still behind Ariana Grande and also the surprisingly resilient Wes Nelson and Hardy Caprio.

In an effort to avoid too much repetition, we pass over Mariah and a couple of others and dig down to number 33 for a classic Christmas toe-tapper from Shakin' Stevens.

Debuts: None.

Dua Lipa - Levitating

Up 5 to number 5

Shawn Mendes and Justin Bieber - Monster

In at number 9

Meduza ft. Dermot Kennedy - Paradise

Up 2 to number 18

BTS - Life Goes On

In at number 10

Wes Nelson and Hardy Caprio - See Nobody

Up 1 to number 4

From The Vault: Shakin' Stevens - Merry Christmas Everyone

Back in at number 33

Miley Cyrus with Dua Lipa - Prisoner

Highest New Entry - In at number 8

Ariana Grande - Positions / 34 + 35

Fifth week at number 1 / Up 4 to number 13

PRESENTERS: Hugh Grant and Martine McCutcheon

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Top of the Pops, 26th November 2020

The big new hit this week is from Billie Eilish, who just misses out on dethroning Queen Ariana Grande but makes significant waves none the less. Also new to the show is CJ, who makes his big chart charge after hovering around the lower reaches for a few weeks.

James Arthur is never off the show lately and this week is no exception. Another of the stories of the year, 24KGolden, is also here to reprise his big hit, and Baccara are dug up out of the vault for some reason.

Debuts: None.

Jax Jones ft. Au/Ra - I Miss U

Up 3 to number 25

Billie Eilish - Therefore I Am

Highest New Entry - In at number 2

CJ - Whoopty

High Climber - Up 15 to number 24

James Arthur - Train Wreck

Up 3 to number 16

24KGoldn ft. Iann Dior - Mood

Up 1 to number 13

From The Vault: Baccara - Yes Sir I Can Boogie

Back in at number 57

BBC Children In Need - Stop Crying Your Heart Out

In at number 7

Ariana Grande - Positions

Fourth week at number 1

PRESENTERS: James Masterton and Daryl Denham