‘The X Factor’ UK: Sam Bailey poised to score Christmas #1 with ‘Skyscraper’; but…

Are there already some troubling signs ahead for the latest winner of “The X Factor”? It all depends on how you look at it.

In some of the data that is coming out today from the UK, season 10 champ Sam Bailey is poised to deliver the first “#1 Christmas” single for the show in three years, as her cover of Demi Lovato’s “Skyscraper” has to this point brought in 67,000 copies since its release. This Christmas window is a huge one for British shoppers, and record executives love to claim victory this week more than any other during the year. That should actually make Simon Cowell happy at a time when he hasn’t always had a ton to smile about (just remember the ratings here). Sam has a pretty substantial lead on Pharrell Williams at #2, and barring some sort of crash, she should easily coast her way to victory.

Now, we come to the time where we share the caveat to all of this. In the same window last year, James Arthur sold over 250,000 copies of his debut single “Impossible,” which was probably the stronger of the two covers released. This song, however, did not reach #1 in this window thanks to some heavy competition. Arthur had a smash hit when this came out, and was in a far better place in the industry than he is now following a string of remarks that have made many on the show desperate to distance themselves from him.

This is the one thing that you have to remember when you are looking at sales for an “X Factor” winner today: It’s all about the long game. While it would be great if “Skyscraper” sold more copies, it is going to be #1; plus, older customers don’t tend to rush out to but anything right away, so it could sell for a long period of time pretty well. Many of these same fans could be loyal enough to pick up a debut album later, and we can’t imagine Sam botching the opportunity given to her in the same exact what that James has.

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