Justin Bieber urges fans to buy NHS Choir single in Christmas Number One race
Justin Bieber does not want to be Christmas Number One - and has called on his followers to support the NHS Choir's charity single instead.
Bieber is narrowly ahead of the NHS Choir in the race for the Christmas Number One, with just two days to go.
He tweeted: " I'm hearing this UK Christmas race is close...but the @Choir_NHS single is for charity. So...
"so for 1 week it's ok not to be #1. Let's do the right thing & help them win. It's Christmas. @Choir_NHS good luck".
Bieber added: "This is what it's all about. Merry Christmas :)"
The Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Choir's single A Bridge Over You almost closed the gap overnight and is now just 662 combined sales behind Bieber's Love Yourself.
Proceeds from the NHS Choir's single will go to charities including Carers UK and Mind.
With last year's Christmas Number One - from X Factor winner Ben Haenow - having notched up 214,000 combined sales, 662 is a very narrow lead.
This is the closest Christmas Number One race since 2009, when Rage Against The Machine's single Killing In The Name was pitted against The X Factor winner Joe McElderry's The Climb.
But barring a last-minute surge, this year's X Factor winner Louisa Johnson is unlikely to have a look-in for the Christmas Number One.
I'm hearing this UK Christmas race is close...but the @Choir_NHS single is for charity. So...— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) December 23, 2015
Martin Talbot, Chief Executive of the Official Charts Company, said: "As well as climaxing on Christmas Day for just the fourth time in history, this year's race for the festive Number One is looking like one of the closest ever.
"With just two days to go, it really is too close to call - possibly the most exciting battle since Joe McElderry took on Rage Against The Machine in 2009."
The race will finish at midnight on Christmas Eve, with the result announced by 1pm on Christmas Day.
Coral bookmakers announced they were suspending bets on who would claim the Christmas Number One spot as Bieber's tweets had all but guaranteed a win for the NHS Choir.
Spokesman John Hill said: "It's hard to see the NHS Choir not getting the top spot on Christmas Day now that Justin Bieber, their only rival, is behind their charity song.
"Before we pulled the plug we saw a huge gamble on the NHS Choir so it is likely to be a popular result with punters."
Odds for the charity song had reached as short as 1/25 before they stopped bets, with Coral saying there had been "one-way traffic" putting money down on the choir's victory all day.