WITH just three days to go to Christmas – and the crowning of this year’s coveted festive No1 – the race looked all but won by Ladbaby.
But if anyone can still make a dent on the chart at the 11th hour it’s Britain’s biggest pop superstar Ed Sheeran, who delighted fans yesterday with a surprise comeback after almost 18 months.
Ed Sheeran’s new single Afterglow reveals his trip to Antarctica where his first child with wife Cherry was conceived[/caption]
It means LadBaby’s single Don’t Stop Me Eatin’, in aid of food bank charity The Trussell Trust, has some stiff competition.
Ed’s latest ballad, Afterglow, appeared at 11am after he teased it late on Sunday.
It tells the story of his visit to Antarctica, where he and wife Cherry conceived their first baby last Christmas.
Unveiling the track, he said: “Afterglow is a song I wrote last year that I wanted to release for you.
Ed sings to Cherry: ‘Stop the clocks, it’s amazing, you should see the way the light dances off your hair’[/caption]
“It’s not the first single from the next album, it’s just a song I love, and hope you love too. Enjoy! Back to Dad land for me now, ciao x.”
The soulful guitar number — why change a winning formula — describes the loved-up couple’s trip to the South Pole, eight months before The Sun revealed they were poised to welcome their first baby, Lyra Antarctica, in September.
In loved-up lyrics, he sings to Cherry: “Stop the clocks, it’s amazing, you should see the way the light dances off your hair.
“A million colours of hazel, golden and red, Saturday morning is fading. The sun’s reflected by the coffee in your hand, my eyes are caught in your gaze all over again.”
Ed and Cherry welcomed daughter Lyra Antarctica Seaborn Sheeran in August[/caption]
Ed adds: “We were love drunk waiting on a miracle, trying to find ourselves in the winter snow.
“So alone in love like the world had disappeared, Oh I won’t be silent and I won’t let go. I will hold on tighter, ’til the afterglow.”
Before Ed’s release, LadBaby — real name Mark Hoyle — looked all but certain to clinch his third consecutive Christmas No1 with 86,000 sales.
But Afterglow racked up millions of plays in the first few hours after emerging on YouTube and streaming platforms.
Ed’s new single Afterglow racked up millions of plays in the first few hours after emerging on YouTube and streaming platforms[/caption]
While the song doesn’t have the catchy synthesised hook of Shape Of You nor Castle On The Hill’s anthemic pounding drum beat — the two tracks released in tandem to launch Ed’s last studio album Divide — as Ed says, it isn’t planned as the lead track to a full collection.
Instead Afterglow is a simple, heartfelt message of love, warmth and pride.
Accompanied by his own splatter-painted artwork, the song is clearly a labour of love and a message of hope and joy.
And we’re all looking for that right now.
Macca on track for No.1
SIR PAUL McCARTNEY is on track to receive a very special Christmas present – his first solo No1 album in 31 years.
McCartney III, his 18th solo record, has already sold 25,000 copies since its release on Friday.
Paul McCartney is on track to have his first solo No1 album in 31 years for Christmas[/caption]
His previous album to top the charts was 1989’s Flowers In The Dirt.
It would also be poignant if Paul succeeds as it would mark 20 years since The Beatles’ greatest hits, 1, topped the festive chart in 2000.
He faces competition from Michael Ball and Alfie Boe, who are at No2 with Together At Christmas, while Eminem’s Music To Be Murdered By: Side B is new at No6 in the midweek Official Charts.
Nic’s cool with Fonsi
NICOLE SCHERZINGER is dipping her toe back into solo music following the Pussycat Dolls comeback.
She was spotted in Miami on Sunday shooting a video for a single with Latin superstar Luis Fonsi – the man behind one of the biggest songs of the 21st century, Despacito.
The Pussycat Dolls burst back into the Top 30 when they released React in February – their first single in a decade.
Now Nicole hopes to replicate that success.
She has shared photos from the studio, including this one from the set of their video, which she captioned: “Excited for y’all to see what I’m working on.”
Nicole will also finally tour the UK next year with the Pussycat Dolls after their 2020 reunion gigs were a casualty of the pandemic.
LIZZO has surprised her mum Shari with an early Christmas present – a new car.
She wrote on Instagram: “Got my mommy a brand new Audi for Xmas.
“I remember crying in my car when my daddy passed, no job, no money, nowhere to live, wishing I could one day provide for my family.
“I couldn’t do it for my dad so I’m gonna make sure I spoil Mama.”
Guetta’s big no to Noel
MARIAH CAREY, Robbie Williams and Michael Buble have made a fortune from Christmas records but don’t expect one from French DJ David Guetta – he thinks they’re uncool.
He told me: “This is a very British or American thing, we don’t do that in France.
David Guetta has said he will never release a Christmas single because he thinks they’re uncool [/caption]
“I find it very hard to find a cool factor in it. It’s just so challenging to make a cool Christmas song.”
When he does return with new music in the New Year, it may sound very different.
Asked what he did while stuck at home, David said: “I’ve learned to play a new instrument which is part of the funk culture.
“It’s something I wanted to do since I was a teenager and I finally had the time to do that. And I’ve been working on my piano.
“You never stop learning. It’s endless. It gave me the opportunity to be a little bit more experimental, trying new sounds and new instruments. It was nice.”
At least someone’s enjoyed lockdown . . .
Katy’s New Girl
KATY PERRY delivers an apt message with her new single It’s Not The End Of The World.
But while it is her track, she only has a tiny cameo in the video as aliens accidentally abduct lookalike actress Zooey Deschanel.
Once in the spaceship with the extraterrestrials – who are big fans of the pop superstar – the New Girl actress is made to model Katy’s famous outfits.
In the end, Zooey wins them over and saves the world from being blown to pieces.
DJ JORDAN NORTH’s survival skills weren’t too great in I’m A Celeb and he’s not too handy back at home, either.
On his Radio 1 show yesterday he said: “My tree looks hungover. It’s on its way out and it’s only the 21st. I’m worried.
“I don’t know, maybe I need to give it a Bloody Mary or something like a drop of Scotch.”
He’s be better talking to Peter Seabrook.
I Carey a lot – Ari
ARIANA GRANDE released her Netflix concert documentary Excuse Me, I Love You yesterday and although it didn’t feature her new fiancé Dalton Gomez, it did include a gushing tribute to another of her true loves – Mariah Carey.
Ariana Grande’s new documentary features a gushing tribute to Mariah Carey[/caption]
The film, shot during Ariana’s Sweetener world tour in 2019, included footage of her dancing to All I Want For Christmas Is You last year for a compilation video which Mariah created.
Recounting how she was asked to be involved, Ariana said: “I learned to sing by mimicking her and Beyoncé and Whitney Houston and that’s how I learned to do runs, listening and being like, ‘Oh, can I do that?’
“It just means a lot to hear from her because my sound was so influenced by her and the nineties pop sound.
“The fact that she thought of me is very soul-shaking. It just means a lot as an artist and as a fan.”
ZOE BALL reckons her cat Monkey is haunting her after her son Woody heard it miaowing.
She said on her Radio 2 Breakfast Show yesterday: “We lost our cat a couple of weeks ago and it is still getting us.
“Woody is obsessed his ghost is in the house as he can hear him miaowing. But I think it’s all in his head.”
I’ve heard of the ghost of Christmas past, present and future, but never feline.
Gem in tune with Dusty
ISSUES around sexuality were a big part of Queen and Elton John biopics Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman – and they look set to be a talking point for a new film about Dusty Springfield.
Gemma Arterton will play the singer in the movie set around the time of her fifth album Dusty In Memphis in 1969, and she says it will address Dusty being a lesbian.
Gemma Arterton will play Dusty Springfield in a new movie that will address her sexuality[/caption]
Gemma said: “She was gay and she was out, she wasn’t hiding it.
“One of the reasons she moved to America was to escape scrutiny.
“It’s about a moment in her life when she felt the most creative, but was doubting herself.
“And it’s about dealing with her love life in that sphere.”
Gemma told the Table Manners podcast: “Living in LA, she wrecked her voice with fags and booze and drugs – and her career slid away.”
GIRLS ALOUD’s Kimberley Walsh is pregnant with her third child.
The Biology singer, who is married to former Triple 8 boyband member Justin Scott, said: “We chatted throughout the lockdown and said family is everything, we’re not really done and we’d quite like to add one more to the fold.
“We’re just lucky it happened quite quickly.”
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Pixie keeps fans in check
FANS of Pixie Lott weren’t just checking out her baubles when she posted this festive snap on Instagram.
The pop star posed in matching plaid shorts and a jumper in the house she shares with her fiancé, model Oliver Cheshire.
Pixie posed in matching plaid shorts and a jumper in the house she shares with her fiancé, model Oliver Cheshire[/caption]
Pixie and Oliver, who got engaged in 2016, have been forced to put their wedding plans on indefinite hold since the pandemic.
With the amount of ceremonies delayed this year and next, I’ll be keeping an eye out for my invitation – in 2026 . . .
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