Maroon 5's "One More Night" tops the Hot 100 for the third straight week, holding off PSY's novelty smash "Gangnam Style," which holds at #2 for the second week. But it was close. In fact, you could borrow the equine imagery of PSY's video and say it was "a real horserace." Billboard's Gary Trust reports that fewer than 500 overall chart points separated the two songs, down from about 3,000 points last week. Trust further notes that was the closest race for #1 since the week ending Feb. 5, when Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kiss You)" dislodged Adele's "Set Fire To The Rain."
"Gangnam Style" has outpaced "One More Night" in terms of digital sales in each of the last two weeks, but "One More Night" has a big lead in radio airplay. It ranks #2 on the Hot 100 Airplay chart (just behind P!nk's "Blow Me (One Last Kiss).") "Gangnam Style" jumps from #34 to #23 on the airplay chart.
"One More Night" is also ahead in terms of streaming activity. The Maroon 5 hit tops the On-Demand Songs chart for the second week. "Gangnam Style" leaps from #9 to #2.
The Hot 100 takes all three of these factors into account.
"Gangnam Style" hit #1 in the U.K. this week. It will probably hit #1 on the Hot 100 next week. Stay tuned.
Incidentally, this marks the first time that a Maroon 5 song has hit #1 on the Hot 100 and stayed put for three straight weeks. "Makes Me Wonder's" three-week run on top was interrupted by "Buy U A Drank (Shawty Snappin') by T-Pain featuring Yung Joc. "Moves Like Jagger's" four-week run was busted up by Adele's "Someone Like You."
Female solo artists account for this week's top three new entries. Taylor Swift's "Begin Again" begins at #7, Ke$ha's "Die Young" opens at #13 and Rihanna's "Diamonds" bows at #16.
The #7 start for "Begin Again" is highest since "Payphone" by Maroon 5 featuring Wiz Khalifa bowed at #3 the week ending April 22. It's the highest by a female artist since Katy Perry's "Part Of Me" debuted at #1 the week ending Feb. 19.
"Begin Again" is the second preview track from Swift's album Red, which is due Oct. 22. The first, "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together," logged three weeks at #1. This week, it holds at #4 for the second week. A third song, the title track, is due to arrive on the Hot 100 next week. If it, too, makes the top 10, Red will become Swift's third studio album in a row to spawn three top 10 hits before it was even released. "Change," "Love Story" and "Fearless" all cracked the top 10 before Fearless was released in November 2008. "Mine," "Speak Now" and "Back To December" all cracked the top 10 before Speak Now was released in October 2010.
"Begin Again" is Swift's 12th top 10 hit, which enables her to surpass Kenny Rogers as the "core country artist" with the most top 10 hits. Rogers had 11 top 10 pop hits, from the First Edition's 1968 hit "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" to his 1983 megahit with Dolly Parton, "Islands In The Stream." ("Just Dropped In…" didn't crack the country chart, but the rest of Rogers' top 10 pop hits did. Eight of them reached #1 country.)
"Begin Again" enters Hot Digital Songs at #1 with a first-week total of 299K. It's Swift's fifth song to reach #1 on the digital sales chart.
I have more good news for Swift. "We Are Never Ever..." tops the 2 million mark in digital sales. It's Swift's sixth song to reach that milestone, which is more than any other country artist. Jason Aldean and Rascal Flatts are tied for second place with four 2-million sellers each. Lady Antebellum, Carrie Underwood and The Zac Brown Band have each had two.
Ke$ha's "Die Young" debuts at #13. Digital sales rank: #3 (188K). It's vying to become her eighth top 10 hit in less than three years. "Die Young" is the first single from Ke$ha's second full-length album, Warrior, which is due Dec. 4. The first singles from Ke$ha's previous full-length, Animal, and a subsequent EP, Cannibal, both made #1. (Those smashes were "TiK ToK" and "We R Who We R.")
"Die Young" is an unlikely title for an upbeat pop/dance single. The Band Perry had a big hit with "If I Die Young," but that was a reflective, philosophical ballad.
Rihanna's "Diamonds" debuts at #16. Digital sales rank: #7 (133K). It's vying to become Rihanna's 22th top 10 hit in just over seven years. "Diamonds" is from Rihanna's upcoming seventh studio album, which is due before the end of the year. The first singles from four of Rihanna's six previous studio albums made #1. (I'm talking about "SOS" from A Girl Like Me, "Umbrella" from Good Girl Gone Bad, "Only Girl (In The World)" from Loud and "We Found Love" from Talk That Talk.)
Only two of Rihanna's many hits have debuted higher than #16 on the Hot 100. They were both songs on which she was featured. Eminem's "Love The Way You Lie" debuted at #2. Drake's "Take Care" bowed at #9. Rihanna has had phenomenal success over the past seven years, but she's missing two things from her chart portfolio: a #1 album and a single that debuted at #1. (I hope she gets both.)
One final note: Herb Alpert (with Janet Jackson) had a top five hit with a different song titled "Diamonds" in June 1987.
Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 songs.
The Top Five: Maroon 5's "One More Night" holds at #1 for the third week in its 15th week on the chart. This is its seventh week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #4 (181K)…PSY's "Gangnam Style" holds at #2 for the second week in its fourth week on the chart. This is its second week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #2 (294K)… fun.'s "Some Nights" holds at #3 for the third week in its 32nd week on the chart. This is its eighth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #6 (140K)…Taylor Swift's "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" holds at #4 for the second week in its eighth week on the chart. This is its seventh week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #5 (169K)…P!nk's "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" hold at #5 for the third week its 13th week on the chart. This is its eighth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #14 (86K).
The Second Five: "As Long As You Love Me" by Justin Bieber featuring Big Sean rebounds from #7 to #6 in its 15th week on the chart. This matches its highest ranking to date. This is its seventh week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #11 (94K)… Taylor Swift's "Begin Again" debuts at #7. It's her 12th top 10 hit. Digital sales rank: #1 (299K)… Flo Rida's "Whistle" drops from #6 to #8 in its 20th week on the chart. This is its 12th week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #10 (104K)… Alex Clare's "Too Close" holds at #9 for the second week in its 27th week on the chart. This is its fourth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #8 (116K)…"Good Time" by Owl City & Carly Rae Jepsen drops from #8 to #10 in its 14th week on the chart. This is its sixth week in the top 10. Digital sales rank: #12 (88K).
Ellie Goulding's former #2 smash "Lights" drops from #10 to #12, ending a 14-week in the top 10.
"Finally Found You" by Enrique Iglesias featuring Sammy Adams vaults from #83 to #24 in its third week. It's vying to become Iglesias' sixth top 10 hit. This week's big jump is due to the song finally being released digitally. Digital sales rank: #9 (112K)…Ne-Yo's "Let Me Love You (Until You Learn To Love Yourself)" jumps from #28 to #25 in is ninth week...Miguel's "Adorn" holds at #31 for the second weeek in its ninth week. It holds at #1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs for the fourth straight week. Miguel's album, Kaleidoscope Heart, is expected to enter The Billboard 200 next week right around #3...Jason Aldean's "Take A Little Ride" drops from #33 to #35 in its 11th week. The song holds at #1 on Hot Country Songs for the second week.
"Girl On Fire" by Alicia Keys featuring Nicki Minaj leaps from #55 to #41 in its fourth week. The song has already climbed as high as #37. The song is gaining valuable exposure in a clever and smart TV ad for the Citi credit card. Keys' Girl On Fire album is due Nov. 27. This is the first time that Keys has released a title track as a single. She had songs titled "As I Am" and "The Element Of Freedom," but they weren't released as singles from those albums.
Ed Sheeran's "The A Team" jumps from #52 to #48 in its 12th week…"Bandz A Make Her Dance" by Juicy J featuring Lil Wayne and 2 Chainz jumps from #63 to #58 in its third week.
Five songs from Mumford & Sons' Babel enter the chart this week. The title track debuts at #60, followed by "Lover's Eyes" at #85, "Whispers In The Dark" at #86, "Holland Road" at #92 and "Ghosts That We Knew" at #94. Babel enters The Billboard 200 at #1, with first-week sales of 600K. The first single from the album, "I Will Wait," reached #23 on the Hot 100.
Muse's "Madness" jumps from #79 to #69 in its sixth week. Muse's The 2nd Law is expected to enter The Billboard 200 at #2 next week, just behind Mumford & Sons' album.…"Swimming Pools (Drank)" by Kendrick Lamar jumps from #81 to #72 in its seventh week…Trey Songz's "Dive In" jumps from #86 to #77 in its fifth week.
Flo Rida's "I Cry" debuts at #81. The song is vying to become the fourth top five hit from the pop star's fourth album, Wild Ones, following "Good Feeling," "Wild Ones" and "Whistle." Flo Rida is very much a singles artist. His songs have sold tens of millions of copies. His four albums have sold a combined total of 905K copies.
Usher's "Numb" leaps from #97 to #82 in its second week…Justin Moore's "Til My Last Day" jumps from #92 to #83 in its third week…Kip Moore's "Beer Money" jumps from #99 to #88 in its second week.
"Don't Stop The Party" by Pitbull featuring TJR debuts at #89. It's from Pitbull's seventh studio album, Global Warming, which is due Nov. 19. The song is vying to become Pitbull's eighth top 10 hit.
Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend" this week becomes the 10th song to sell 3 million or more digital copies in 2012. We're on track to setting a new record for the most 3 million-sellers in a calendar year. There were 14 3 million-sellers in all of 2011, 12 in all of 2010, seven in all of 2009 and two in all of 2008. This is Bieber's second 3-million-seller. "Baby" (featuring Ludacris) has sold 3,718,000 copies.
Neon Trees' zesty "Everybody Talks" tops the 2 million mark in digital sales this week.
Andy Williams' classic 1962 recording of "Moon River" sold 12K copies in the week after his death. This brings its digital tally to 219K. Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer wrote the sublime ballad, which was the first song to win both an Oscar for Best Song and a Grammy for Song of the Year.