Christmas Song Advent Calendar 2017: Day 9

  • ARTIST: *NSYNC
  • SONG: Under My Tree
  • ALBUM: Home for Christmas (1998, BMG)

I didn’t learn that *NSYNC had released a Christmas album until about six years ago, and I duly imported a copy of it from eBay in the States. Needless to say, it has now been at the heart of my festive pop listening every year ever since. Hearing this whilst in Selfridges on Oxford Street last year was nothing short of magical (even if I did proceed to burst into my own rendition of it. Mit JC Chasez’s ad libs and all).

Don’t forget to follow our Spotify playlist to ensure you’re getting all the songs each day in the run up to Christmas!

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Christmas Song Advent Calendar 2017: Day 8

  • ARTIST: Girls Aloud
  • SONG: I Wanna Kiss You So (Christmas in a Nutshell)
  • ALBUM: Chemistry – Bonus Christmas Version (2005, Polydor)

From the mini album of festive covers and original Xenomania helmed winter warmers that accompanied the deluxe version of their much acclaimed third studio album ‘Chemistry’ in 2005, the girls’ ode to clubbing on Christmas Eve and making angels in the snow (because, Sarah Harding sings, she ‘likes the funny feeling when my bum gets cold’. Each to their own) is like the cheekiest office Christmas card ever in pop song form. Bish, bash, bong, woo!

Don’t forget to follow our Spotify playlist to ensure you’re getting all the songs each day in the run up to Christmas!

Christmas Song Advent Calendar 2017: Day 7

  • ARTIST: S Club 7
  • SONG: Perfect Christmas
  • ALBUM: Never Had a Dream Come True (2000, 19/Polydor)

Nice bit of numeric synchronicity for today’s Christmas song. The B-side to their chart topping ‘Never Had a Dream Come True’, this was penned – as many of the S Club hits were – by the legendary Cathy Dennis, and you’re almost sad Polydor didn’t go the whole hog and make it a double-a-side at the time. They were halfway there with the wintery video for the main song anyway!

Don’t forget to follow our Spotify playlist to ensure you’re getting all the songs each day in the run up to Christmas!

Christmas Song Advent Calendar 2017: Day 6

  • ARTIST: The Feeling
  • SONG: Feels Like Christmas
  • ALBUM: Feels Like Christmas (2008, Universal Island)

Having just announced that they are returning after a year’s hiatus with some live dates next year, it’s one of our favourite 00s guitar bands The Feeling. This single came out with the full intention of being 2008’s Christmas number one, but for the small flaw that their wider popularity had dropped like the proverbial hot potato that year. A shame, when this is one of the cosiest sounding songs in my most recent festive playlists.

Don’t forget to follow our Spotify playlist to ensure you’re getting all the songs each day in the run up to Christmas!

Alex’s End of Year Prizes 2017: The Nominations (Plus – find out how you can vote for the Reader’s Choice!)

It’s with great excitement ‘pon de blog today, that I can announce the return of my End of Year Prizes for 2017 this Boxing Day!

For those readers not familiar with this, it’s my annual prize giving I do during the Christmas holidays, usually as my last blog of the year, to honour those that I’ve quite simply, abso-flipping-lutely loved in the last 12 months from music, TV, film and books. It’s basically the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party, minus the Best Haircut trophy.

Today, I am exclusively revealing the prizes I’ll be dishing out – whilst face planting a box of Celebrations in my onesie on 26th December – along with who has been nominated for each award. Who’s gonna win? You’ll just have to sit tight for three weeks to find out – but for now, here are those nominations for this year’s End of Year Prizes in full…

MAN OF THE YEAR

  • Tom Fletcher
  • Ore Oduba
  • Dave Grohl
  • Richard Osman
  • Olly Murs

WOMAN OF THE YEAR

  • Mollie King
  • Giovanna Fletcher
  • Dawn French
  • Emma Thompson
  • Miranda Hart

SOLO ARTIST OF THE YEAR

  • Olly Murs
  • Craig David
  • Niall Horan
  • Mollie King
  • Ed Sheeran

BAND OF THE YEAR

  • The Vamps
  • Steps
  • Coldplay
  • The Corrs
  • Foo Fighters

LIVE ACT OF THE YEAR

  • Olly Murs (24 HRS Tour)
  • Craig David (Glastonbury 2017)
  • Una Healy (St Pancras Old Church)
  • Busted (Royal Albert Hall)
  • Foo Fighters (Glastonbury 2017)

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

  • Niall Horan – ‘Flicker’
  • Una Healy – ‘The Waiting Game’
  • The Corrs – ‘Jupiter Calling’
  • Steps – ‘Tears on the Dancefloor’
  • Ed Sheeran – ‘÷’

SINGLE OF THE YEAR

  • Kungs featuring Olly Murs and Coely – ‘More Mess’
  • Arcade Fire – ‘Everything Now’
  • Steps – ‘Story of a Heart’
  • Niall Horan – ‘Slow Hands’
  • Mollie King – ‘Hair Down’

TV SHOW OF THE YEAR

  • All Gardens Great and Small (More4)
  • Cold Feet (ITV)
  • Strictly Come Dancing (BBC One)
  • Joanna Lumley’s India (ITV)
  • Michael McIntyre’s Big Show (BBC One)

BOOK OF THE YEAR

  • Giovanna Fletcher – ‘Some Kind of Wonderful’
  • Mikael Lindnord – ‘Arthur: The Dog Who Crossed the Jungle to Find a Home’
  • Dawn French – ‘You & Me: A Diary’
  • Richard Osman – ‘The World Cup of Everything’
  • Miranda Hart – ‘Miranda’s Daily Dose of Such Fun!’

Plus we’ll be giving out these prizes, which have just one winner – but for obvious reasons are yet to be revealed…

  • FILM OF THE YEAR
  • COMEDIAN OF THE YEAR
  • ACTOR OF THE YEAR
  • COMEBACK OF 2017
  • ONES TO WATCH PRIZE
  • SPECIAL AWARD: ICON PRIZE

AND if that wasn’t enough. For the first time ever, YOU, the readers, get to pick a winner too! (not that sort of winner. Rude) Yes, there’s also our special award chosen by the readers of this here blog:

  • READER’S CHOICE 2017

As of right now, you can get voting from a shortlist of five of which well known face from the past 12 months you want to see walk away with this special prize. Nominated for this award are:

  • Richard Osman
  • Olly Murs
  • Giovanna Fletcher
  • Ore Oduba
  • Miranda Hart

And you can now VOTE at this little section of the interweb for who you want to win this award – voting closes at midnight on Tuesday, 26th December – that’s Boxing Day – and we’ll reveal the winner in that year’s End of Year Prizes later that day.

So get voting for your favourite now, and we’ll see you back here on Boxing Day for our End of Year Prizes 2017. See you all then!

Christmas Song Advent Calendar 2017: Day 5

  • ARTIST: Spice Girls
  • SONG: Christmas Wrapping
  • ALBUM: Goodbye (1998, Virgin)

I mean. The Waitresses’ original version was amazing anyway, but this Spice-y version – the B-side to their third Christmas chart topper in a row with ‘Goodbye’ – is equally brilliant. It even finds time to name check their world tour and assorted pregnancies from that year (1998) as well as referencing Tesco and 24 hour garages. What’s literally not to love?

Don’t forget to follow our Spotify playlist to ensure you’re getting all the songs each day in the run up to Christmas!

Christmas Song Advent Calendar 2017: Day 4

  • ARTIST: Louis York and the Shindellas
  • SONG: What Does Christmas Mean?
  • ALBUM: Masterpiece Theater, Act III (2017, Weirdo Workshop)

We did promise the guys from Louis York a few days ago they’d be featuring on our Christmas Song Advent Calendar this year – and here they are, with the latest single to be lifted from the third installment of their ‘Masterpiece Theater’ EPs. With a little help from female vocal group The Shindellas, this foot tappin’, hand jivin’, Phil Spector-esque bop is sure to get your Christmas party off to a bang!

Don’t forget to follow our Spotify playlist to ensure you’re getting all the songs each day in the run up to Christmas!

Tweet Hee Hee: Episode 13

Happy new week people! Time to get your week started with a smile with an all new round of Tweet Hee Hee, our weekly round up of all the funniest bits we’ve found on social media in the last seven days.

So get your laughing gear ready as we start your week with a dose of brand new LOLs…

WHAT IS A BUSINESS MASSAGE?

You may well ask, Melanie C. You may well ask…

Of course, all manner of responses followed to the Spice they call Sporty…

THE CHILDREN’S BOOK HIT OF 2018?

Make no mistake. It’ll involve a cat and a library…

HOW TO BEAT YOUR MATES AT ‘WORDS WITH FRIENDS’

You tell them, Richard Osman…

JUST WHEN YOU THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE TO GO BACK INTO THE WATER…

ROAST CHICKEN: THE FOOD OF LOVE?

Well based on the BBC’s breaking of the news of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement last week…yes:

THE LOST ART OF THE MIDDLE NAME

Nice to hear Fearne Cotton’s son is an upkeeper of tradition:

DOG MEETS SNOW

This is literally the ‘ERMAGHERD! SNER!’ meme in video form.

#StrictlyLiveBlogging Week 12: Musicals Week Results

Welcome back to the second showing of Musicals Week for this weekend’s #StrictlyLiveBlogging, our weekly live blog of the BBC’s hit celebrity ballroom series Strictly Come Dancing. With 24 hours gone since the six remaining celebrities and their professional partners treaded the boards with their musical inspired routines, the penultimate dance off of this series now awaits as we find out who is heading to next weekend’s semi final.

We’ll get going at 6:40pm tonight with our warm up looking back at last night’s dances, and a look ahead to the results show, before we get go live with the BBC One show at 7:20pm.

Don’t forget as always to swipe down or press F5 to refresh for all the dance off news as it breaks, and to leave your comments below or Tweet us using the hashtag #StrictlyLiveBlogging. See you all then!

Alex 🎭💃📺📝🎉👍

6:35pm

So last night was the quarter final, and Musicals Week, as the six remaining couples took to the floor with routines inspired by shows from Grease to Cats.

It meant a return to the top of the leaderboard for Debbie and Giovanni, with three 10s and a total of 39 for their American Smooth. Alexandra and Gorka also scored 39 for their Mary Poppins take on a Charleston, with Joe and Katya completing the top 3 with 37 for their Cabaret inspired Samba. Down at the bottom with 29 for their Phantom of the Opera style Argentine Tango were Davood and Nadiya.

6:45pm

Tonight, in the penultimate dance off, the two lowest scoring couples from the judges scores and viewer votes combined will dance again to fight for a place in next weekend’s semi final.

The cast of the new West End hit of the year, Dreamgirls, will also join the professional dancers for their opening group number:

Plus, Beverley Knight, Amber Riley and Cassidy Janson – aka The Leading Ladies – will be performing a track from their new album live in the studio:

6:55pm

25 minutes to go! It’s time for us to flashback to dances from Strictly quarter finals past. Our first one tonight is a real show stopper from 2009 – it’s Chris Hollins and Ola Jordan’s Charleston:

7pm

20 minutes to go! Our second flashback tonight takes us back to 2007, with Alesha Dixon and Matthew Cutler’s stunning Viennese Waltz:

7:05pm

15 minutes to go! Our last flashback to Quarter Finals past tonight is from 2013, with Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Brendan Cole’s Tango to a Madonna classic: 

7:20pm

Here we go people…!

7:22pm

I’m not really into Dreamgirls per se but there are some moves being busted here by Janette in particular!

7:26pm

Predictions time then – who do we think is dance off bound tonight? I’ve a feeling it’ll be Gemma this week – but I hope I’m wrong!

7:30pm

Time now to find out the first lot of couples through to the semi final next weekend…here they come:

  • Debbie and Giovanni!
  • Joe and Katya!

      And the first couple in tonight’s dance off are…Davood and Nadiya!

      Shame really, I thought he had a great dance last night!

      7:36pm

      Time now for a performance from The Leading Ladies – Beverley Knight, Amber Riley and Cassidy Janson – singing ‘I’m Every Woman’. Got to say I’m not that fussed by this! Roll on Craig David next week…

      7:42pm

      Oh yes. Gangnam Ed is back!

      7:43pm

      Time now to reveal the last lot of couples through to next weekend’s semi final – here they come:

      • Mollie and AJ!
      • Gemma and Aljâz!

      Which means Alexandra and Gorka are in the dance off again!

      7:48pm

      Dance off time. Davood and Nadiya are dancing their Argentine Tango first again…

      7:50pm

      Just as good as, if not better than last night’s this. Alas he’s in the dance off with the duopoly so it’s obvious this is his last dance…

      7:52pm

      Alexandra and Gorka doing their Charleston again now. Just as flat as last night this. But hey, why does what I say matter?

      7:54pm

      The judges are now voting for who they’re saving for next week’s semi final…

      • Craig is saving Alexandra and Gorka…
      • Darcey is saving Alexandra and Gorka…
      • Bruno is saving Alexandra and Gorka…

      Which means Davood and Nadiya are out of Strictly Come Dancing 2017. They’ll be much missed!

      7:56pm

      That’s it for another weekend of #StrictlyLiveBlogging – thanks again to all who read along. We’ll see you back here next week for the semi final – until then, keeeep live dancing/blogging! 

      💃🎭📝📺🎉👍

      Christmas Song Advent Calendar 2017: Day 3

      • ARTIST: Britney Spears
      • SONG: My Only Wish (This Year)
      • ALBUM: Platinum Christmas (2000, Jive)

      Why this little festive gem from Oops…I Did It Again era Britney (i.e. her best era) hasn’t become a classic as feted as that Mariah one is beyond me. It’s lost none of it’s appeal in 17 years though. ‘I want ma bay-beh, bay-beh…’

      Don’t forget to follow our Spotify playlist to ensure you’re getting all the songs each day in the run up to Christmas!