New Year's Eve 2013 Photos: Stars Ring in the New Year
The Voice winner Cassadee Pope performs on the NIVEA Kiss Stage in Times Square on New Year's Eve 2013 on December 31, 2012 in New York City.

The reigning victor of 'The Voice' blasts into the top 10 with her first country radio single, while LeAnn Rimes returns to the Top Country Albums chart's top 10

Third-season (2012) champ of NBC's "The Voice" Cassadee Pope returned to the show on June 4 to sing "Wasting All These Tears," her first official country radio single. Subsequently, the track draws Hot Shot Debut applause on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart No. 7, marking her third straight top 10 debut (unaccompanied by another artist). She posted back-to-back top 10 starts last December with "Voice"-generated covers of Keith Urban's "Stupid Boy" (No. 4) and Miranda Lambert's "Over You" (No. 3).

With 125,000 downloads sold according to Nielsen SoundScan, Pope's new track is also the highest beginner on Country Digital Songs (No. 2). It also starts on Country Airplay at No. 54.

Prior to her solo endeavor, Pope fronted Hey Monday, a pop/rock band which drew chart ink in 2008-11, including the No. 25-peaking EP "Beneath It All" on the Billboard 200.

TV = SALES: Alongside Pope's handsome start, TV exposure accounts for much activity on Hot Country Songs, led by Digital Gainer and Streaming Gainer nods for Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise." The song benefits from a performance on the June 5 CMT Music Awards.

With its second-best digital week so far (225,000 downloads, up 15%), FGL performed the song with rapper Nelly on the show. The best sales week for "Cruise" was 248,000 on the April 20 chart, which reflected first-week sales of the Nelly remix. The duo snares the streaming spike with 3.2 million total streams, up 14%, according to Nielsen BDS. Leading Country Digital Songs for a 16th cumulative week, "Cruise" dominates Hot Country Songs for a 15th week, the most chart-topping frames for a song in the past 50 years on the latter chart.

The remaining seven Hot Country Songs debuts are also traceable to TV performances: six from "The Voice" and a duet version of "Home" by Blake Shelton and Usher (No. 36), which they performed together on the May 29 "Healing in the Heartland" Oklahoma tornado benefit show. 

Usher, thus, makes his first career appearance on Hot Country Songs.

Also among the new titles on Hot Country Songs: another Pam Tillis cover from "Voice" hopeful Danielle Bradbery, as "Shake the Sugar Tree" sweetens the chart at No. 38. Tillis' original reached No. 3 in 1992 on Hot Country Songs. Four weeks ago, Bradbery debuted and peaked at No. 25 with "Maybe It Was Memphis, which Tillis also took to No. 3 in 1992.

'FIRE' STARTER: LeAnn Rimes opens at No. 9 with Hot Shot Debut honors on Top Country Albums (and at No. 36 on the Billboard 200) as "Spitfire," her final album for Curb Records, starts with 11,000 sold, according to SoundScan. The set is her first album of all-original material to reach the list since "Family" debuted at No. 2 in 2007 with 74,000. Her covers set "Lady & Gentleman" debuted and peaked at No. 7 with 12,000 in 2011.

Rimes' prior track record on Top Country Albums includes 10 top five debuts, including five No. 1 launches. She arrived with the eventual 28-week No. 1 "Blue" 17 years ago next month.

'JUMP' JUMPS: Zac Brown Band ups its top 10 count to 12 on Country Airplay, as "Jump Right In" hops 11-10 in its 18th week. That's the most top 10s by a group dating to the act's first top 10, "Chicken Fried," on the chart dated Nov. 1, 2008. Next up among groups in that span: nine top 10s apiece for Lady Antebellum and Rascal Flatts, six for the Band Perry and three for Little Big Town.

Since the BDS-fueled Country Airplay chart launched in January 1990, Zac Brown Band boasts the seventh-most top 10s among groups. Rascal Flatts leads with 28, followed by Alabama (24), Diamond Rio (19), Lonestar (18), Dixie Chicks (14), Sawyer Brown (14), Lady Antebellum (10), Shenandoah (10) and Little Texas (eight). Nine of ZBB's top 10s have hit No. 1.

RECORD-SETTING: Tim McGraw, with Taylor Swift, surpasses the weekly Country Airplay audience record set the previous week with "Highway Don't Care," which holds at No. 1 for a second week. As previously reported, during the May 27-June 2 tracking week, "Highway" logged the biggest weekly audience sum (41.3 million impressions) since the chart adopted audience-based rankings in January 2005, besting Toby Keith's "As Good as I Once Was," which logged 40.6 million impressions in August 2005. The McGraw/Swift collaboration gains by 325,000 impressions for a record-rewriting 41.6 million impressions (June 3-9).

"Highway" is the 19th of his McGraw's 26 career leaders to spend more than one week atop Country Airplay. Remarkably, his first 12 No. 1s each spent multiple weeks atop the chart (1994-2001). His longest reign was seven cumulative weeks with "Live Like You Were Dying" nine years ago. Swift's Country Airplay chart history includes seven leaders, the first four of which posted multiple weeks at the summit (2007-09). She'd last logged multiple No. 1 weeks with "You Belong with Me," which ruled for two frames in summer 2009.

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