Jackson holds top spot of the year

Jackson holds top

spot of the year

Mike Flowers narrowly failed to become the least likely recipient of the pop charts' Christmas No 1 slot when Michael Jackson held the top spot with his "Earth Song".

The 35-year-old former busker and his group looked likely to top the festive charts with the easy-listening rendition of Oasis's ballad "Wonderwall". But Jackson managed to hang on for the third week.

The Mike Flowers Pops record sold more than 10,000 copies in its first two days of release at HMV stores alone, and entered the charts at number two. Jackson, the odds-on favourite at 4-7, made the bookmakers William Hill a small profit. They stood to lose around pounds 125,000 if Mike Flowers Pops reached No 1.