UK Chart Roundup: ‘The X Factor’ Influence

 This week's chart report takes the form of a lesson in TV and how to use it to promote your product. Some of the results are a little baffling at first glance, so do bear with me, won't you?

Let's start two weeks ago, when Rihanna and Cheryl Cole had been battling for that all-important No.1 spot. Their respective singles "Only Girl (In the World)" and "Promise This" came out at the same time, with Cole helping her case via the medium of a tearful prime-time interview on Piers Morgan's TV show, and a performance on The X Factor. Needless to say, it was Cole's song that won the day.

One week later, and the situations were reversed. Rihanna and Cole swapped places, thanks to an X Factor appearance from Rihanna and no confessional TV show from anyone else.

This week, Take That have lobbed their dusty old trilby into the ring, courtesy of brand new, Robbie-enhanced single "The Flood".

Here's the video:


In terms of promotion, their version of the confessional TV appearance was a feature-length documentary called Look Back, Don't Stare, and featured the band candidly exposing what can sometimes be very brittle chemistry. They then went on to perform on The X Factor.

Now, as things stand currently, Rihanna, who did NOT confess anything, whose song has been out for three weeks, and who has only appeared on The X Factor a week AFTER Cole, has effortlessly held back their hopes of a No.1. They're languishing at No.2, just above Katy Perry's "Firework" and the new, Taio Cruz-enhanced single from McFly. Oh, the indignity!

Mind you — and this is where you have to concentrate a bit — Cole's TV blitz happened on the Saturday before her single came out, so she had a whole week of sales to capitalize on it. Rihanna only got to No.1 a week after she'd appeared on The X Factor, and Take That's TV-athon happened only two days ago.

So, the chances are that everything will change (pun intended) next week, and Take That will rise once more. Either that or Rihanna will confess (on TV) to having supernatural chart powers. Either way, the mystery is solved.

For the rest of this week's chart, Radio 1 has the full rundown.

Are you glad Robbie is back in Take That? Let me know your thoughts.

by Fraser McAlpine

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.

He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.

Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic

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