Which Decade Is Tops For Pops: polling stays open until Friday night.

It’s close.
It’s really close.
My God, is it ever close.

With polling still open for all ten selections, a flurry of late votes have been sending our five hopeful decades yoyo-ing all over the shop. The key battleground is for first position, with the 1980s and 1960s slugging it out in a truly epic catfight.

At the time of writing, an outright victory for the 1960s – while still possible – is the least likely outcome. Instead, we are looking at either a one point victory for the 1980s, or else a tied first position.

As veterans from 2003 will know, a tied first position will result in a bonus tie-break round. If this happens, then I’ll be pitching the Top Three for August 17th 1965 against the Top Three for August 17th 1985, i.e. six months after my birthday. After listening to all six songs, you will be asked to place them in order of preference, with points awarded in the usual manner. The decade with the highest number of points will then be the ultimate winner.

Some time on Saturday, I’ll either be announcing the winner or posting the tie-break round. In the meantime, you can catch up with last-minute voting using the handy one-click guide below, complete with information on this year’s Key Marginals.

10: Moody Blues, Johnny Wakelin, Prince, Alex Party, Ciara.
With Prince and the Moody Blues way ahead of the pack, the main battle here is between Alex Party (1990s) and Ciara (2000s).
9: Ivy League, Wigan’s Chosen Few, Commodores, Perfecto Allstarz, Chemical Brothers.
With the Perfecto Allstarz (1990s) and the Chemical Brothers (2000s) still vying for first place, the Key Marginal here is Wigan’s Chosen Few (1970s) versus The Commodores (1980s). The Commodores need to maintain their small lead in order to keep the 1980s in the game.
8: Manfred Mann, Helen Reddy, Art Of Noise, Nicki French, Ashanti.
Helen Reddy is streets ahead in first position. However, another Key Marginal for the 1980s sees the Art Of Noise struggling to maintain a narrow lead over Ashanti (2000s).
7: Val Doonican, Shirley & Company, Kirsty MacColl, MC Sar & The Real McCoy, Raghav.
The Key Marginal here has Kirsty MacColl (1980s) snapping at the heels of Shirley & Company (1970s) in a bid to take over first position. Meanwhile, there is very little to separate The Real McCoy (1990s) from Raghav (2000s).
6: The Animals, Glitter Band, Howard Jones, Ini Kamoze, Doves..
The first Key Marginal for the 1960s has current leaders The Animals defending a strong challenge from Doves (2000s). Below them, there is almost nothing separating The Glitter Band (1970s) from Ini Kamoze (1990s).
5: Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders, Mud, Dead Or Alive, MN8, Brian McFadden & Delta Goodrem.
The most settled of all the rounds, with a comfortable distance between all five positions. Dead Or Alive (1980s) lead the pack, with the largest share of the vote of any of this year’s songs.
4: Del Shannon, Mac & Katie Kissoon, Bruce Springsteen, Rednex, Destiny’s Child.
Springsteen is way out in front, but Rednex (1990s) and Destiny’s Child (2000s) remain locked in mortal combat for fourth place, in the most tightly fought tussle of all.
3: Righteous Brothers, Carpenters, Ashford & Simpson, N-Trance, Eminem.
Good news for the 1960s, as The Righteous Brothers lead by a huge margin. Below them lies an epic four-way struggle, with only a few points separating second from fifth place. Representing the 1980s, Ashford & Simpson badly need to raise themselves from the bottom of the pack, in this most unpredictable of all the Key Marginals.
2: The Seekers, Pilot, King, Annie Lennox, Elvis Presley.
The only round to feature not one, but two Key Marginals. Wrestling for first place are Annie Lennox (1990s) and The Seekers (1960s). Below them, Pilot (1970s) and King (1980s) are wrestling just as hard. Only Elvis Presley (2000s) is out of the fray, trailing a long way behind in fifth place.
1: The Kinks, Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel, Elaine Paige & Barbara Dickson, Celine Dion, U2.
One thing is certain: with 21 fifth places out of 26 at the last count, and no placings higher than fourth, Celine Dion is set to go down in the Troubled Diva history books as by far and away the least popular constestant of the last three years, even beating Blazing Squad’s dismal score from 2003. At the top of the pile, Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel have cause for cautious optimism. But perched in mid-table, our two rival decades are pitched directly against each other in what is possibly the most crucial Key Marginal of them all. Which will it be? The Kinks (1960s) or Elaine Paige & Barbara Dickson (1980s)? As in all the best contests, it’s all resting on the final vote. What are Ladbrokes quoting, I wonder?

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