TOM FLETCHER is waltzing his way into the hearts of the nation on Strictly, excelling with his dance partner Amy Dowden.
But his continued success under the glitterball means fans will have to wait even longer for McFly's new album, because he is simply too busy to finish it.
His bandmate Harry Judd revealed he, Dougie Poynter and Danny Jones have completed all of their work on the follow-up to their 2020 comeback collection Young Dumb Thrills.
But Tom’s hectic rehearsal schedule, including preparing the devilish tango he did for the Halloween-themed show on Saturday, means he hasn’t been able to get in the studio.
In an exclusive chat, Harry, who became a dad for the third time to son Lockie last month, said: “It’s me, Danny and Dougie in the studio, and now just Danny and Dougie because I’ve been with the baby.
“The progress has been great. We just need to get a load of Tom’s vocals down, then it’s finished.”
The band spent the past year writing their seventh album, which is expected to be released in 2022.
And because of Tom’s absence for the past two months while on the BBC1 show, Dougie and Danny will sing on the record more than ever before.
Harry continued: “We finished the drums before we toured and I re-did one song after the tour.
"Dougie’s finished all of his bass and he’s been doing loads of vocals because Tom’s not been there and we’ve just wanted to get the melodies recorded and down. Danny’s done all of his vocals and stuff.
“It’s all sounding great, we’re really excited about it. I’ve genuinely never been more excited about new music.”
Tom’s bandmates are all behind him in his Strictly journey though, despite the anxiety it causes for them, as well as him.
Speaking to promote booking.com’s partner- ship with the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup of cricket, Harry — who won Strictly a decade ago — said: “At first, it was a bit stressful because I was like, ‘I really hope he does well’.
“But now I’m enjoying it more. He’s clearly got the ability. It is stressful though, I feel for him. It’s intense. He is doing great.
"The competition is so tough. I wouldn’t want to be going up against those lot.
“Tom’s finding it difficult, like we all do, with moments where you’re like, ‘That’s not possible. How am I supposed to learn that in five days?’”
ED'S TRIUMPH HAS NO EQUALS
VERY now and then a superstar comes along and drops an album that blows every other artist out of the water.
Right now, that is Ed Sheeran.
The singer-songwriter’s fourth solo collection Equals is outselling the entire Top 40 combined, with astonishing sales figures of 84,000 copies since it was released on Friday.
He is beating all other competitors by a country mile across all formats – physical sales, downloads and streams – and is on course to overtake Coldplay’s record for the biggest opening week of 2021.
Their album Music Of The Spheres sold 101,000 copies in its first week when it came out last month but Ed is likely to surpass that figure by the end of play today.
Coldplay’s record was the first to sell more than 100,000 copies over a seven-day period in the UK since Ed’s previous album, No.6 Collaborations Project, which shifted 125,000 copies when it came out in July 2019.
I’m confident Ed can beat even that huge number, because Equals is an absolutely brilliant piece of work.
Looking up at Ed from No2 in the mid-week chart update is former Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft with Acoustic Hymns Vol. 1, while the Spice Girls’ debut album Spice is at No3 after being re-released as a deluxe edition to celebrate its 25th anniversary.
Ed hasn’t been able to get out around the world to promote his record over the past week after being struck down with Covid, but everyone is clearly still loving him.
MARIAH'S SANTA CAUSE
MARIAH CAREY is milking her title as Queen of Christmas for all it’s worth, declaring the festive season has started seven weeks early.
As the clock struck midnight on Sunday, she posted this clip on social media of her smashing up a Halloween pumpkin with a candy cane baseball bat, and declaring: “It’s time.”
Then her No1 single All I Want For Christmas Is You started playing, cutting to footage of her in a sparkly Santa outfit with festive gifts and holding a red and white bauble.
I love getting festive as much as the next person, but her tree will be dead by December 25 if she’s decorated it already.
SAM’S YEARNERS ARE EARNERS
SAM FENDER’s latest album Seventeen Going Under is a deep dive into love and loss – and went straight to No1.
Yet despite its success – repeating the feat of his 2019 debut collection Hypersonic Missiles – Sam says his label bosses are urging him to write something more upbeat.
Sam explained: “They say, ‘Sam, stop being so f***ing miserable, write us something a bit happier!’
“But I do yearning and hopeful, not happy, because happy is boring.
“When I started getting angsty and heartbroken about girls, that was when the real songs started.
“It became my earliest form of therapy.
“A lot of the more emotionally challenging parts of my childhood drove me to learn something, so I could have an outlet.”
Sam also revealed one of his major music inspirations was ABBA, saying he followed their formula when it came to creating songs.
He added in Total Guitar mag: “I like what ABBA do, which is sad lyrics and uplifting music.
“You can learn as much from ABBA as you can from The Beatles. They were absolute genius song-writers.”
With the Swedish legends’ new album Voyage out on Friday, fans will be hoping they haven’t lost that skill 40 years on.
ANNIE MAC says she is having a midlife crisis as she figures out what to do next after her final show on Radio 1 in July following 17 years with the station.
She said: “Radio 1 has this aura from the outside of being a cool place to work.
"I was always told, ‘You’re cool!’ That’s all because of the association with Radio 1.“
I’ve only ever thought about it now because I’m not there and suddenly I’m like, ‘Who am I?’”
Chatting to Nick Grimshaw, who also quit the station this summer, on her Changes podcast, Annie, added: “I’m a mother of two, really into gardening and running.
"I’m really into music but I’m also into other stuff. I don’t feel remotely cutting edge.
"I’m not struggling but I’m like, ‘Who the f*** am I?’ I think I’m having a midlife crisis."
I’M A CELEB . . . GET ME OUTFITTED
KENDALL JENNER had a hair-raising Halloween moment in this daft wig like the Martian girl from 1996 comedy sci-fi movie Mars Attacks!
She was one of hundreds of celebrities who tried to outdo each other with bonkers outfits, which, for many, must have been pretty tricky to have fun in once they got to their parties.
Ariana Grande's green monstrosity must have been the worst for that, as she had full prosthetics on her face to recreate the main character from 1954 horror film Creature From The Black Lagoon.
Taylor Swift probably worked up a sweat in her squirrel costume, though Kate Beckinsale kept cool with her legs out in a sexy Pope get-up.
As for Harry Styles, what can I say? He seemed to have dressed in his nan’s curtains to create a ruffled, clown-style look for his second consecutive show at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
For once, it was Wap rapper Cardi B who kept with the tradition, joining daughter Kulture in a wicked witch caper.
Seeing Cardi covered up really is a Halloween shock.
ADELE WINES ON NEW LP
IT sounds like Adele is a woman after my own heart. She has revealed a track on her upcoming album, 30, is called I Drink Wine.
The superstar announced the titles of all 12 songs on the record in an email to fans last night.
It will open with Strangers By Nature, before going into the first single Easy On Me, which she has now released on CD single in a bid to hold on to the No1 spot for a third week
In typical heartbreak fashion, it will also include tunes called Cry Your Heart Out and To Be Loved.
Other tracks are My Little Love, Oh My God, Can I Get It, Woman Like Me, Hold On and Love Is A Game.
The collection, her first in six years and due out on November 19, will also feature an interlude called All Night Parking, which is credited as featuring the late jazz pianist Erroll Garner.
JESSIE'S JOY OF SIX
JESSIE J has all but finished her sixth album and is finally ready to make a comeback.
The Do It Like A Dude singer has completed sessions for the record, her first since 2018’s festive release This Christmas Day, and is fine-tuning the tracks ahead of a release date next year.
A source said: “Jessie still needs to swing by the studio a couple more times to add a few more vocals and then the album is done.
“It will be out in 2022 but the exact plans are yet to be finalised. It’s been a long time coming. Jessie is certainly very proud of it.”
I previously told how Jessie, above, had drawn inspiration for the record from her split with US Magic Mike actor Channing Tatum at the end of last year.
Hopefully the new album will mark a glorious return to form
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