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LadBaby aren’t competing for a Christmas number one this year – ending a five-year winning streak.

Mark and Roxanne Hoyle, who have two children, have dominated the festive charts since 2018 with singles that raised money for food bank charity The Trussell Trust.

They first clinched the number one spot with a rendition of 1980s rock song We Built This City, changing the lyrics in a dedication to the humble sausage roll.

Their success continued in 2019 with the release of I Love Sausage Rolls, Don’t Stop Me Eatin’ in 2020 and Sausage Rolls For Everyone – which saw the stars team up with Ed Sheeran and Sir Elton John – in 2021.

Last year, the husband and wife duo secured another number one with Food Aid, setting a UK official chart record as the first act to score five consecutive Christmas number one singles.

Posting a video on Tuesday in front of all their awards, the couple said they have had the most “life-changing five years” and “never expected one Christmas number one, let alone five”.

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“The Great British public backing a sausage roll, only in Great Britain,” they said.

“We started on this journey to make a song about sausage rolls that made people laugh but also did it for a good cause, and raised money and awareness for The Trussell Trust, something that was close to our hearts.”

The couple first started posting family comedy videos on the internet six years ago, and have now reached a global audience of over 13 million, according to their website.

Through their singles, they have racked up more than 754,000 combined UK chart sales, according to data from the Official Charts Company.

The couple previously stood equal with The Beatles, who managed four non-consecutive Christmas number ones.

With LadBaby firmly out of the festive race, classical singer Andrea Boccelli’s song Festa, which accompanies the John Lewis Christmas advert, has even better odds of claiming the top spot this year.

Teenage Dirtbag band Wheatus are also making a bid with their reworking of the 2000 indie hit, entitled Christmas Dirtbag.

Both artists will face competition from older Christmas classics including Mariah Carey’s All I Want For Christmas Is You, The Pogues’ Fairytale Of New York and Last Christmas by Wham.

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Rock legends Kiss ‘immortalised’ as digital superhero-style avatars

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Rock legends Kiss 'immortalised' as digital superhero-style avatars

US rock band Kiss will live on as superhero-style digital avatars after playing their final live gig in New York.

Gene Simmons, Paul Stanley, Eric Singer and Tommy Thayer, performed on Saturday night in the city’s Madison Square Garden, before leaving the stage to reveal their new digital alter egos.

Named Demon, the Starchild, Catman, and Spaceman, the holographic stars have been created with motion capture technology by Industrial Light & Magic.

The band were turned into avatars using motion capture technology
Image:
The band were turned into avatars using motion capture technology

The band were turned into avatars using motion capture technology

The Hollywood special effects company was founded by Star Wars creator George Lucas in 1975 and has worked on films including Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, and The Avengers.

Swedish firm Pophouse Entertainment, which worked on the avatars used in the Abba Voyage shows in London, was also involved.

Kiss frontman Stanley said the avatars – complete with the band’s iconic makeup – would “see Kiss immortalised”.

“What we’ve accomplished has been amazing,” he said.

“But it’s not enough. The band deserves to live on because the band is bigger than we are.”

Kiss on stage in Copenhagen. File pic
Image:
Kiss on stage in Copenhagen. File pic

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Virtual Kiss’s first performance upon their unveiling was God Gave Rock And Roll To You.

‘Places we’ve never dreamed of’

The avatars will now be available for live shows around the world and in digital online settings, which some people collectively refer to as the metaverse.

Ariana Grande is among the pop stars to have performed in the hit video game Fortnite, and Lil Nas X has done the same inside the similarly popular Roblox.

Kiss bassist Simmons said the band will go to “places we’ve never dreamed of before”.

In the 50 years since they were formed in 1973, they have been on more than 30 tours, sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, and been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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Ryan Gosling: Barbie star reveals what ‘Kenergy’ really means

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Ryan Gosling: Barbie star reveals what 'Kenergy' really means

Barbie star Ryan Gosling has revealed the true meaning of “Kenergy”.

The Canadian actor coined the term earlier this summer while promoting the year’s biggest – and pinkest – film, which has topped the 2023 box office chart with takings of $1.4bn (£1.1bn).

He has now attempted to define “Kenergy” and its associated verbs (“Kenning”, for example) after admitting it had “haunted” him for much of the year.

Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie arrive for the European premiere of Barbie at Cineworld Leicester Square in London. Picture date: Wednesday July 12, 2023. PA Photo. See PA story SHOWBIZ Barbie. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA Wire
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Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie at the London premiere of Barbie earlier this year

The Hollywood star said: “What is ‘Kenergy’, other than a word I made up on a press junket, so I didn’t have to really answer any questions, that’s haunted me ever since?

“It’s a noun, that I’ve come to understand as the strength and vitality required for a sustained period of ‘Kenning’.

“What’s ‘Kenning’, other than another random word I made up?

“It’s a verb. To Ken is to give more than is necessary or required to reflect so that others might shine.”

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‘His life changed forever’

Gosling, who starred as Ken opposite Margot Robbie‘s titular doll, was speaking at music awards show Hitmakers in Los Angeles.

He was there to present music producer and writer Mark Ronson with soundtrack of the year for his work on Barbie, which included the I’m Just Ken ballad performed by Gosling.

Gosling hailed Ronson as a prime example of the “Kenergy” he has spent the year trying to explain.

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The actor added: “Up until six months ago, the entire world gave zero f**** about Ken. He was just this 70-year-old crotchless doll with no house, no car, no job, and no voice, and look at him now.

“He has a Grammy-nominated power ballad and the voice of an angel. What happened? It’s simple.

“He met Mark Ronson, and his life changed forever.”

Barbie is also the UK’s biggest film of the year so far and contributed more than £80m to the country’s economy, having predominantly been filmed in Hertfordshire.

It is also the highest-grossing film shot by a female director.

For many cinemagoers, it served as one half of an unlikely double bill with Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer after a social media craze that drove one of the biggest surges in ticket sales since the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Game Awards: The biggest night in gaming is upon us – but who are the contenders?

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Game Awards: The biggest night in gaming is upon us - but who are the contenders?

The end of the year is always a time to reflect, and the gaming industry is no different.

The 10th annual Game Awards take place in Los Angeles on Thursday, 7 December, celebrating the best interactive entertainment released in 2023.

Sky News looks at the battles in seven of the hottest categories, and the rest are in full underneath.

Game of the year
Alan Wake 2
Baldur’s Gate 3
Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
Resident Evil 4
Super Mario Bros Wonder

It’s a smorgasbord of blockbuster sequels battling it out for best game, and we think it’s between Alan Wake 2 and Baldur’s Gate 3.

Both were long in the making and took advantage of their lengthy development to upend fans’ expectations and achieve some of the highest review scores of the year.

The former is a love letter to Stephen King, Twin Peaks, and The Twilight Zone, delivering plot twists and jump scares aplenty while boasting some of 2023’s most creatively meta moments; and its fantasy rival has wowed with the seemingly endless permutations players can experience in a story driven by the choices they make.

Alan Wake II. Pic: Remedy
Image:
Alan Wake II is dripping with atmosphere. Pic: Remedy

Best narrative
Alan Wake 2
Baldur’s Gate 3
Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty
Final Fantasy XVI
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

Given their storytelling prowess is a key factor in how well they’ve been received, Alan Wake 2 and Baldur’s Gate 3 appear destined to slug it out for the narrative prize.

In both cases, it’s not just about how compelling the stories are, but how they’re delivered in ways that only this medium can. For example, Alan Wake’s Helsinki-based studio Remedy combines the game’s striking visuals with live action sequences, consistently challenging your perception of what’s really happening.

With Baldur’s Gate, from Belgian developer Larian, the sheer scope of its Dungeons & Dragons-style quest is astonishing – and the agency it gives means you’ll likely never meet anyone who had exactly the same experience.

Few games this year match Baldur's Gate 3 for sheer scope. Pic: Larian
Image:
Few games this year match Baldur’s Gate 3 for sheer scope. Pic: Larian

Best art direction
Alan Wake 2
Hi-Fi Rush
Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom
Lies Of P
Super Mario Bros Wonder

Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom will likely run Alan Wake and Baldur’s Gate closest for best game, and Nintendo has a fine chance of winning best art direction given how much visual splendour their teams are still squeezing out of the ageing Switch console.

Like its predecessor Breath Of The Wild, which won game of the year in 2017, this is a beautiful game punching well above its weight on the graphics front.

The dream-like scenery is wonderfully rendered, resembling a watercolour painting, and the scale of the world – now explorable from the sky – makes it all the more impressive.

Image:
Tears Of The Kingdom is another success for Nintendo’s fantasy series. Pic: Nintendo

Best audio design
Alan Wake 2
Dead Space
Hi-Fi Rush
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
Resident Evil 4

Few genres thrive on good audio design as much as horror, and Alan Wake 2, Dead Space, and Resident Evil 4 deliver equally spine-chilling experiences that are best enjoyed in the dark with a good pair of headphones.

Any would be a worthy winner, though I’ll offer my best wishes to Dead Space given it’s terrified me like no other game this year. From your lonely footsteps and creaking doorways on the abandoned starship where it’s set, to the horrific blood-curling screams of the enemy monsters, it’s a frightening feast for the ears.

Dead Space. Pic: EA
Image:
Dead Space sounds disgusting – in a good way. Pic: EA

Best score and music
Alan Wake 2, composer Petri Alanko
Baldur’s Gate 3, composer Borislav Slavov
Final Fantasy XVI, composer Masayoshi Soken
Hi-Fi Rush, audio director Shuichi Kobori
Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom, Nintendo Sound Team

In a competitive and varied field, surprise hit Hi-Fi Rush stands out for not just having great music, but making the soundtrack fundamental to the gameplay experience.

Starring as a rock star turned action hero, each level tasks you with fighting enemies to the backdrop of both unique tracks and hits from bands like Nine Inch Nails and The Prodigy. Attacks sync up with the music in super satisfying fashion and better timing leads to higher scores, making for a uniquely addictive combat experience.

Now where’s my Taylor Swift-branded sequel…

Hi-Fi Rush is quite the audio-visual spectacle. Pic: Bethesda
Image:
Hi-Fi Rush is quite the audio-visual spectacle. Pic: Bethesda

Best performance
Ben Starr, Final Fantasy XVI
Cameron Monaghan, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor
Idris Elba, Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty
Melanie Liburd, Alan Wake 2
Neil Newbon, Baldur’s Gate 3
Yuri Lowenthal, Marvel’s Spider-Man 2

Star Wars star Cameron Monaghan told Sky News last year he expected more film and TV actors to join him in major gaming roles, and he’s been proved right – just look at Idris Elba joining Keanu Reeves in Cyberpunk.

But veteran video game actor Yuri Lowenthal (Marvel’s Spider-Man 2) deserves major kudos for bringing his own wonderful spin to one of pop culture’s most iconic characters, with the sequel to one of 2018’s best games injecting the story with a darker tone that demanded a more versatile and nuanced performance.

From Tom Holland to Shameik Moore, he’s got plenty of competition when it comes to Spider-Man actors – but he holds his own.

Spider-Man gets a darker suit to match his latest game's darker tone. Pic: Sony
Image:
Spider-Man gets a darker suit to match his latest game’s darker tone. Pic: Sony

Here are the rest of the game nominations:

Best game direction
Alan Wake 2
Baldur’s Gate 3
Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
Super Mario Bros Wonder

Best adaptation
Castlevania: Nocturne
Gran Turismo
The Last Of Us
The Super Mario Bros Movie
Twisted Metal

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Pic: PlayStation Productions/Sony Pictures Television
Image:
The Last Of Us got a TV adaption on Sky Atlantic. Pic: PlayStation Productions/Sony Pictures Television

Innovation in accessibility
Diablo IV
Forza Motorsport
Hi-Fi Rush
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
Mortal Kombat 1
Street Fighter 6

Games for impact
A Space For The Unbound
Chants Of Sennaar
Goodbye Volcano High
Terra Nil
Tchia
Venba

Best community support
Baldur’s Gate 3
Cyberpunk 2077
Destiny 2
Final Fantasy XIV
No Man’s Sky

Idris Elba in Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty. Pic: CD Projekt Red/YouTube
Image:
Idris Elba joined Cyberpunk 2077’s impressive cast this year. Pic: CD Projekt Red

Best independent game
Cocoon
Dave The Diver
Dredge
Sea Of Stars
Viewfinder

Best debut indie game
Cocoon
Dredge
Pizza Tower
Venba
Viewfinder

Best mobile game
Final Fantasy VII: Ever Crisis
Honkai: Star Rail
Hello Kitty Island Adventure
Monster Hunter Now
Terra Nil

Best VR/AR Game
Gran Turismo 7
Humanity
Horizon Call Of The Mountain
Resident Evil Village
Synapse

Resident Evil Village. Pic: Capcom
Image:
Resident Evil Village was a true scarefest in VR. Pic: Capcom

Best action game
Armored Core VI: Fires Of Rubicon
Dead Island 2
Ghostrunner 2
Hi-Fi Rush
Remnant 2

Best action/adventure game
Alan Wake 2
Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom
Marvel’s Spider-Man 2
Resident Evil 4
Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

Best RPG
Baldur’s Gate 3
Final Fantasy XVI
Lies of P
Sea of Stars
Starfield

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Starfield boats hundreds of planets to explore. Pic: Bethesda
Image:
Starfield was one of the year’s biggest games. Pic: Bethesda

Best fighting game
God of Rock
Mortal Kombat 1
Nickelodeon All-Star Brawl 2
Pocket Bravery
Street Fighter 6

Best family game
Disney Illusion Island
Party Animals
Pikmin 4
Sonic Superstars
Super Mario Bros Wonder

The iconic plumber returns in Super Mario Bros Wonder. Pic: Nintendo
Image:
Super Mario Bros Wonder is up for five gongs. Pic: Nintendo

Best sim/strategy game
Advance Wars 1+2: Re-Boot Camp
Cities: Skylines II
Company of Heroes 3
Fire Emblem Engage
Pikmin 4

Best sports/racing
EA Sports FC 24
F1 23
Forza Motorsport
Hot Wheels Unleashed 2: Turbocharged
The Crew Motorfest

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Chelsea star Sam Kerr in EA Sports FC 24. Pic: EA Sports
Image:
Chelsea star Sam Kerr in EA Sports FC 24. Pic: EA Sports

Best multiplayer
Baldur’s Gate 3
Diablo IV
Party Animals
Street Fighter 6
Super Mario Bros Wonder

Best ongoing game
Apex Legends
Cyberpunk 2077
Final Fantasy XIV
Fortnite
Genshin Impact

Most anticipated game
Final Fantasy VII Rebirth
Hades II
Like A Dragon: Infinite Wealth
Star Wars Outlaws
Tekken 8

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