Ask Billboard: More Potential Solo Stars

Evanescence

Wind-Up Records

Our latest mailbag considers more group lead singers who could hit big solo, back-to-back ballads atop the Hot 100, Hilary Duff's hit albums and more.

As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, Tweet questions to Gary Trust: @gthot20

NOT SO FAST ...

@gthot20,

With Pink replacing Bruno, 2 consecutive ballads rule the Hot 100 for the first time since Leona/Rihanna in 08. Love it!

Mark Blankenship
@IAmBlankenship

Hi Mark,

Ballads are definitely cutting through at the moment, as P!nk's "Just Give Me a Reason," featuring fun.'s Nate Ruess, tops the Hot 100, replacing Bruno Mars' all-vocal-and-piano ballad "When I Was Your Man." Rihanna's "Stay" (featuring Mikky Ekko), meanwhile, is in line to crown Pop Songs when the airplay chart is refreshed and released tomorrow.

It may seem odd that several slow songs are hitting at a time when EDM is at a zenith and uptempo alternative and folk/rock hits are joining pure pop as the bulk of top 40 radio's current fare. But, perhaps that's exactly why these ballads are doing so well.

"These songs might be succeeding because of all the uptempo EDM songs out now. The ballads stand out more," Pop Songs panelist KXXM San Antonio program director Chase Murphy says. It surely also can't hurt that they're being provided by some of the format's core artists.

"With any cycle of contemporary music, you need balance."

As you note, Mark, P!nk dethroning Mars marks the first occurrence of ballads following one another at the top of the Hot 100 since Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love" gave way to Rihanna's "Take a Bow" the week of May 24, 2008. Technically, though, the next No. 1 after "Bleeding" first reigned was Mariah Carey's "Touch My Body"; "Bow" followed Lewis' debut smash after its third separate stay at No. 1.

So, the last time before Mars and P!nk that two ballads rose to No. 1 on the Hot 100 for the first time each consecutively? Depending on how strict your definition is of a ballad, I'd go with James Blunt's "You're Beautiful" leading for a week in March 2006 before Ne-Yo took over for two weeks with his debut hit, "So Sick."

NEXT: Hilary Duff sales

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