By the turn of the 21st century, as reality competition shows gained popularity globally, televised singing shows in the UK began massively influencing the Christmas number one year after year, starting in 2002 with Girls Aloud’s “Sound of the Underground” from Popstars. Another show, The X Factor UK, has completely owned the Christmas number one since 2005, when Season 2 winner Shayne Ward’s “That’s My Goal” reigned supreme.
Since then, X Factor has aired Christmas specials with the finalists, ramping up holiday music streams and sales in hopes of repeatedly snatching the Christmas number one crown. And it has worked, with a total of seven X Factor winners from 2005 to 2014 earning the Christmas number one, including Alexandra Burke's "Hallelujah" cover. The past two winners in 2016 and 2017 have come from non-reality show artists: Clean Bandit's "Rockabye" featuring Sean Paul and Anne-Marie and Ed Sheeran's "Perfect." That hasn’t stopped the X Factor from airing Christmas episodes and subsequently spurring interest in original holiday songs or reviving interest in classic ones.