"RUSH" WEEK: Kelly Clarkson was the first Idol to appear on the Billboard charts. She was also the first Idol to appear on a country chart. While her victory ode, "A Moment Like This," was enjoying a run at No. 1 on The Billboard Hot 100, the song received enough airplay on country stations to make a brief appearance on Hot Country Songs, peaking at No. 58 the week of Oct. 26, 2002.
Five years passed before Clarkson earned another berth on Hot Country Songs, teamed with Reba McEntire on a remake of the former’s "Because of You." The duet version peaked at No. 2 the week of Sept. 8, 2007. Clarkson’s infrequent visits to the country chart continued 3 1/2 years later, thanks to another team-up. The song was "Don’t You Wanna Stay," credited to Jason Aldean with Clarkson. The powerhouse pairing was enough to carry the song all the way to No. 1 for a three-week stay that began the week of March 12, 2011.
A decade after she first appeared on American Idol, Clarkson had another solo hit on Hot Country Songs. A countrified arrangement of her pop hit "Mr. Know-It-All" peaked at No. 21 the week of June 30. It was her first solo country appearance since "A Moment Like This."
This week, Clarkson scores her fifth country hit as "Don’t Rush," a new duet with genre icon Vince Gill, debuts on Hot Country Songs at No. 25. While that gives Clarkson a Billboard country chart span of 10 years and three weeks, it extends Gill’s run on the same chart to 28 years, nine years and one week, dating back to the debut of "Victim of Life’s Circumstances" the week of Feb. 11, 1984. But Gill’s total chart career goes back even further – to when he was lead singer of country-rock outfit Pure Prairie League. He joined the group in 1979 and first charted in Billboard when "Let Me Love You Tonight" debuted on the Hot 100 the week of May 10, 1980, giving him a chart span of 32 years, six months and one week.
Collaborating with Clarkson has rewritten Gill’s country chart history. "Don’t Rush" is the highest debuting song of his 60 entries on Hot Country Songs. It's his biggest hit since September 2006 when he went to No. 4 with "Building Bridges," recorded with Brooks & Dunn and Sheryl Crow. And Clarkson is Gill’s eighth female partner on this list. In addition to Crow, Gill has charted with Reba McEntire, Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss, Patty Loveless, Barbra Streisand and Emmylou Harris.
"Don’t Rush" triumphs on two other charts this week – one that measures sales and one that only considers airplay. On Country Digital Songs, the Clarkson/Gill song is a top 10 hit out of the box, debuting at No. 10. On Country Airplay, "Rush" races onto the chart at No. 55. The single also bows on The Billboard Hot 100, at No. 97, and on Hot Digital Songs, at No. 35.
"HOME" LANDS AT NO. 1 (AGAIN): As predicted last week, Phillip Phillips collects his fourth Billboard No. 1 hit, as "Home" runs to the top of another chart. It’s just not the one everyone thought it would be.
But it’s close. Last week’s column suggested that Phillips would score his fourth chart-topper when "Home" achieved pole position on the Triple A (Adult Album Alternative) tally. Instead, "Home" holds on that chart at No. 2 with a bullet. The song does earn "Greatest Gainer" honors, meaning it has the biggest percentage increase in airplay of any song on the chart and could still depose Mumford and Sons' "I Will Wait" to claim the crown.
Where "Home" triumphs is on the companion Triple A Audience chart, which measures radio spins in a slightly different way – different enough that "Home" captures the No. 1 spot, sending "I Will Wait" down to No. 2. This is the first time any contestant from American Idol has been No. 1 on a Triple A chart.
"Home" previously reigned on Rock Digital Songs, Hot Digital Songs and Hot Digital Tracks – all are sales charts. That means this is the first airplay chart to be ruled by Phillips’ coronation song.
"Home" could soon conquer other airplay charts as well. It’s very close to claiming first place on the Adult Top 40 list, where it’s standing pat at No. 3 with a bullet. On Adult Contemporary, "Home" holds at No. 12 with a bullet and on Mainstream Top 40, the song is up 20-19 with a bullet.
This latest No. 1 gives the American Idol franchise its 366th chart-topping title. But wait, there’s more…
COLTON MOLTEN HOT WITH NEW NO. 1: Just four weeks after he scored his first No. 1 on the Billboard charts, Colton Dixon is back on top with a different song. Last month, Dixon’s "Never Gone" debuted in pole position on Christian Digital Songs and Christian/Gospel Digital Songs. Now, Dixon repeats that feat by entering the same two charts at No. 1 with his new single, "You Are." That brings Dixon’s total of chart-toppers to four, tying him with fellow Season 11 contestant (and winner) Phillips. Dixon’s three new No. 1s and Phillips’ lone new chart-topper bring the total of American Idol No. 1s to 368.
"You Are" is also registering on an airplay chart. The song is up 33-31 with a bullet on the Christian Songs chart.
One odd note about Dixon’s positions on Christian Digital Songs this week: he both leads and anchors the chart. While "You Are" is No. 1, "Never Gone" re-enters at No. 50.
IT CAME UPON A REPACKAGED ‘CLEAR’: Scotty McCreery’s debut album, Clear as Day, has been repackaged as a double CD with his holiday release, Christmas with Scotty McCreery. While the individual albums continue to chart, the newly-released two-CD set debuts at No. 10 on Top Holiday Albums, No. 20 on Top Country Albums and No. 93 on The Billboard 200.