The former 'Survivor' star wins this week's chart challenge. Plus, Blake Shelton blasts in with his new single 'Neon Light.'
Chase Rice, singer/songwriter and 2010 runner-up on CBS' Survivor: Nicaragua, storms in at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart with Ignite the Night, his second full-length album and first powered by major-label muscle. The set starts with 44,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan, also good for a No. 3 start on the Billboard 200.
The LP marks Rice's second entry on Top Country Albums. Dirt Road Communion, his first full-length, debuted and peaked at No. 48 in April 2012. He first released a six-song EP, Country as Me, in 2011. Rice delivered all three titles on his own Dack Janiels imprint. For Ignite, he enlisted RED Distribution and Sony Music Nashville's Columbia Nashville team for distribution and radio promotion, respectively.
The new set is driven largely by lead single "Ready Set Roll," which reaches a new peak (15-13) in its 38th week on the sales/airplay/streaming-based Hot Country Songs chart. It bullets for a second week at No. 12 on Country Airplay (26 million in audience, according to Nielsen BDS); re-enters Country Streaming Songs at No. 18 (757,000 total U.S. streams, up 22 percent); and has sold 706,000 downloads to date and ranks at No. 27 on Country Digital Songs (11,000 sold).
Rice broke through as a co-writer of Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise." With 24 weeks at No. 1 in 2012-13, the song set the mark for the longest command in Hot Country Songs history.
KICKSTART: Nashville Outlaws: A Tribute to Motley Crue arrives at No. 2 on Top Country Albums, and No. 5 on the Billboard 200, with 31,000 sold. Rascal Flatts ("Kickstart My Heart"), Brantley Gilbert ("Girls, Girls, Girls") and Justin Moore ("Home Sweet Home," featuring Motley Crue's Vince Neil) are among the acts adding country flavor to the rockers' classic catalog.
BLAKE'S BACK: Blake Shelton claims his best-ever debut on the Country Airplay chart, as "Neon Light" arrives at No. 18, driven significantly by coordinated hourly play Aug. 18 on Clear Channel Media and Entertainment-owned stations. Shelton previously launched at a high of No. 19 with "Boys 'Round Here" (featuring Pistol Annies & Friends) on the April 13, 2013, list; that track became the 14th of Shelton's 17 No. 1s (June 29, 2013).
Shelton's lofty debut with "Light" marks the second-highest start this year, outpaced only by Florida Georgia Line's No. 16 bow with "Dirt" (July 26). The only other top 20 debut this year: Jason Aldean's "Burnin' It Down" (No. 19, Aug. 9). On this week's chart, "Dirt" bullets at No. 9, while "Burnin' " rises 14-11. (See the next item for more on Aldean's latest honors.)
"Light" previews Shelton's album Bringing Back the Sunshine, due Sept. 20. Released digitally Aug. 18, the song is being offered by iTunes and Walmart.com as an instant download for customers who pre-order the new set.
Shelton begins another season of coaching on NBC's The Voice on Sept. 22.
RING OF FIRE: Aldean claims his longest chart-topping ride atop Hot Country Songs with "Burnin' It Down," which dominates for a fifth consecutive frame. The song surpasses his four-week reign with "Big Green Tractor" in 2009. "Burnin'" adds Streaming Gainer honors with an 8 percent lift to 2.6 million streams. The track tops Country Streaming songs for a third straight week.
The song enters the latter list with 617,000 audience impressions at 27 Country Airplay panelists during the week ending Aug. 24. A hefty portion (43 percent) of its Country Airplay audience is from 15 plays at KSCS Dallas, the spin leader for reporters playing the song in that span. The only other panelist that played the song at least seven times during the week was WSIX Nashville (10).
"Shake" is the lead single from 1989 (Oct. 27), Swift's fifth studio album, and first, by her own admission, all-out pop release. The song made history by logging a record start on Billboard's Pop and Adult Pop Songs airplay charts.
"Shake" is Swift's 33rd Country Airplay entry. The sum that includes 18 top 10s, seven of which have reached No. 1.
'LIGHTS' ON: Montgomery Gentry debuts on Country Airplay for the first time in nearly two years, as "Headlights" arrives at No. 52. The new track, the twosome's first for the Blaster imprint, will be released digitally Sept. 2. It previews the duo's seventh full-length studio album, expected in early 2015.
Montgomery Gentry's Country Airplay chart history boasts 16 top 10s, including five No. 1s. The duo most recently reached the upper region when "Where I Come From" peaked at No. 8 in 2012 and last reigned with "Roll With Me," which spent two weeks at No. 1 in December 2008.
CABIN FEVER: Dierks Bentley holds for a second week at No. 1 on Country Airplay with "Drunk on a Plane," marking his first multi-week leader since "Sideways" finished a two-week stand atop the July 18, 2009 chart. His longest chart-topping run is three weeks with "Come a Little Closer" nine years ago.
THERE'S 'WHERE': Dustin Lynch claims his second top 10 on Hot Country Songs with "Where It's At (Yep, Yep)," which jumps 14-9. He'd previously reached the upper region with "Cowboys and Angels," which peaked at No. 2 nearly two years ago.