Pop star tweets that charity single is what festive season is all about and that he is happy to be No 2 for one week so more money goes to hospitals
One is a pop star adored by millions and the other is a south London hospital’s amateur choir, but in the final hours of the race to be Christmas No 1, Justin Bieber has called on fans to put his unlikely rivals at the top spot.
The Canadian singer said he had heard the race was close between him and Lewisham and Greenwich NHS choir’s charity single, A Bridge Over You.
The NHS choir was just 662 sales behind Bieber’s Love Yourself, according to the BBC, when the pop star tweeted his unexpected appeal.
Proceeds from the NHS choir’s single will go to health charities including Carers UK and Mind. Bieber has been an unexpected champion of state healthcare from a tender age, once telling Rolling Stone, when he was 16, that the US health insurance system was evil.
NHS choir member and children’s doctor Katie Rogerson said it was bizarre that they were battling it out with a multimillion selling act.
“It’s just ridiculous that it’s the NHS versus Justin Bieber, but that’s all in the jolliness of it,” she said. “You don’t expect an NHS choir to make the top 40 so to be honest, we’re [already] massively pleased. If we got to No 1, it would be insanity – but a really good version of it.”
The song was originally recorded two years ago with the choirmaster Gareth Malone on the BBC2 programme Sing While You Work, but this year Rogerson and colleagues started a social media campaign to get it to No 1.
The race for Christmas No 1 is not over yet. Sales will not stop being counted until midnight on Christmas Eve, with the result announced by 1pm on Christmas Day. It will be only the fourth time in history that a No 1 has been announced on Christmas Day itself.
In recent times, the X Factor winner has dominated the race for the top-selling single, but this year Louisa Johnson’s Forever Young is unlikely to even make the top three.
The Bob Dylan cover has been the worst performing in the show’s history, entering the charts last week at No 9 and selling 39,000 copies.
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