Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Fantasy Top Of The Pops 2016 round-up

Happy New Year, readers, one and all!

I hope you all enjoyed the Christmas period, and especially the real life Christmas Day Top Of The Pops. I thought Skepta and Christine and the Queens had the best performances. I haven't watched the New Year one yet but I sure will.

Artists of the year 

Once again, I'm going to round off the year by running down the most featured artistes and friends of the show here at Fantasy Top Of The Pops. Without further ado, the most frequent top poppers of 2016 were:

In eighth place, Craig David (10 appearances). Craig hadn't been on the show at all in 2013-2015, but he made a storming comeback in 2016 with multiple hits and was always delighted to appear.

In equal eighth place, Coldplay (10 appearances). Coldplay lacked a huge smash this year but their singles and album tracks tended to have long chart runs with multiple small climbs. They were often here to fly the flag for guitar-based music, and managed several fun collaborations with different backing vocalists on Hymn For The Weekend.

Also in equal eighth place, Clean Bandit (10 appearances). These friends of the show only had two singles this year but both were big successes. In particular, Rockabye's long run at number 1 kept them coming back.

In fifth place, Shawn Mendes (11 apparances). The well-groomed Shawn had one appearance in 2015 but 2016 was his breakout year, with Stitches and problemato-pop anthem Treat You Better staying in the chart for long periods.

In equal fifth place, Major Lazer (11 appearances). These electro-raggamuffins often skulk behind featured vocalists but they can't keep themselves off the show. Cold Water and Light It Up combined in 2016 to exceed the Spotify-conquering success of Lean On the year before.

Also in equal fifth place, Little Mix (11 appearances). Friends of the show Little Mix continue to prove that girl bands are still a thing and are in many ways the perfect act for TOTP. 2016 brought the end of the last album campaign and the triumphant start of a new one, which looks set to bring them many more appearances in the coming year.

In third place, The Chainsmokers (12 appearances). Closer was the smash, but the duo's AOR-in-disguise actually gave them several noteworthy hits, all with different singers. They actually had one appearance in 2014 with #SELFIE so they aren't completely new, but this was an astonishingly good year for 2016's least predictable runaway success.

In equal third place, Ariana Grande (12 appearances). Young Ariana has very smoothly become one of the world's premier pop singers during 2016. At the start of the year she might have been on a par with Selena Gomez, but she's now eased her way into the big leagues and might be considered as big as Katy Perry or Olly Murs - almost Rihanna territory. Even when not in the top ten her tracks were frequently found climbing the top 20 or 30, making her and her astonishing voice a TOTP mainstay.

In second place, Drake (13 appearances). When you spend 15 weeks at number one, you rack up a lot of TOTP time. In Drake's case, he wasn't always available, so the summer saw One Dance sometimes performed by his collaborators in various permutations. Nevertheless, it's a rare week when Drake isn't in the chart somewhere so even despite his international commitments he makes it to number 2 on this list.

In first place, 2016's premier friend of the show Zara Larsson (15 appearances). After four TOTP spots at the end of 2015, Zara went on to dominate the show in 2016 and was rarely out of the studio. Multiple hits at once meant that she was often able to appear in consecutive weeks. The achievement is all the greater when you consider that she did it in a year of long-running number one hits without having one herself. Well done Zara!

The wider trend of more appearances for the top artists continues, with Zara's 15 outdoing The Weeknd's impressive 13 from last year and twice as many performers making it into double figures. As streaming continues to slow the chart down I expect more of the same in 2017.

The all-time top ten

Finally let's have a look at the updated list of all-time Fantasy TOTP performers:

RankLast yearActAppearances
1(1)Ed Sheeran32
2(5)Ellie Goulding25
3(8)Little Mix24
4(8)Clean Bandit23
5(3)One Direction22
=(2)Sam Smith22
7(3)Jess Glynne21
8(33)Ariana Grande20
=(27)Major Lazer20

Dropouts: George Ezra (6th last year), Jason Derulo (7th), The Weeknd (8th), Avicii (8th), Calvin Harris (8th).

It's been a good year for Little Mix, Clean Bandit and especially Ariana Grande (the only non-Brit on the list apart from Major Lazer), and a quiet one for Sam Smith and George Ezra, who were all over the show not so long ago. It's also been quiet for Ed Sheeran, but still nobody comes close to him at the top of this list, and if he comes back in 2017 he's likely to extend that lead if anything. Hail King Ed.

See you all on Thursday - thanks for reading.

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