Fred discusses American Idols, Rodney Atkins, Justin Timberlake and more!

'DIFFERENT' DRUMS BUCKY ONTO CHART: With record ratings for its sixth season premiere (see story here), the "American Idol" juggernaut rolls on, ready to produce a whole new field of artists who will find their names on the Billboard charts sometime in 2007. Meanwhile, another finalist from season five makes his debut this week.

Bucky Covington, who finished in eighth place last year, enters Hot Country Songs at No. 57 with his first single, "A Different World." Covington, from Rockingham, North Carolina, is the fifth "Idol" contender to appear on this chart, following Kelly Clarkson, Josh Gracin, Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler. If you're counting, that's one from season one (Clarkson), one from season two (Gracin), one from season four (Underwood) and two from season five (Pickler and Covington).

While season three is the only season that didn't produce a chart-worthy country artist, it is the season with the most charted finalists (seven). Bucky's debut puts season five in second place with six.

Counting all contestants, Covington is the 26th "Idol" singer to appear on a Billboard chart. The breakdown of charted finalists is as follows:

Season one: (five)
Kelly Clarkson
Justin Guarini
Tamyra Gray
R.J. Helton
Jim Verraros

Season two: (four)
Ruben Studdard
Clay Aiken
Kimberley Locke
Josh Gracin

Season three: (seven)
Fantasia
Diana DeGarmo
Jasmine Trias
LaToya London
George Huff
Jennifer Hudson
John Stevens

Season four: (three)
Carrie Underwood
Bo Bice
Mario Vazquez

Season five: (six)
Taylor Hicks
Katharine McPhee
Elliot Yamin
Chris Daughtry
Kellie Pickler
Bucky Covington

That only adds up to 25; if you expand the scope beyond finalists and count all contestants, then William Hung, who didn't pass the audition process, brings the total up to 26. Although Mario Vazquez dropped out of the show, he was a top 12 finalist and is counted as such.


RESPECT FOR RODNEY: Of Rodney Atkins' first four chart singles on Hot Country Songs, only one made the top 30. "Honesty (Write Me a List)" went to No. 4 in January 2004. It was Atkins' sixth song to make the chart that finally took him all the way. In August 2006, "If You're Going Through Hell (Before The Devil Even Knows)" began a four-week reign. When the year ended, "Hell" was No. 1 on the 2006 recap of Hot Country Songs.

Now, Atkins has followed his first chart-topper with another one. "Watching You" (Curb) takes a seat at the head of the class this week, displacing Brad Paisley's "She's Everything" after a three week stay in the penthouse. "Watching You" achieves pole position in its 18th chart week; "Hell" took 30 weeks to reach the summit.


'WIND' IT UP: Some time has to pass before an artist can be considered a one-hit wonder. It wouldn't be fair to bestow that status on someone who had their first hit in 2005 or 2006 as they may have released only one project to date. But if someone had their one and only chart hit back in 2003, I'm ready to put them in the one-hit wonder column.

In one case, that may be a bit premature. In the summer of '03, Lumidee peaked at No. 3 with "Never Leave You – Uh Ooh, Uh Oooh!" She has not charted since.

That could all change next week. Lumidee is No. 4 on the Hot 100's Bubbling Under tally with a remake of Patrick Swayze's "She's Like the Wind" from "Dirty Dancing." Swayze's "Wind" spent three weeks at No. 3 in February-March 1988. Lumidee's version,which features Tony Sunshine, is closer in sound to being a cover of a European rap version released last year by the Vibekingz.

"Wind" has already brought Lumidee to the Pop 100, where her single opens at No. 76. She could lose her one-hit wonder title on the Hot 100 as early as next week.


COMING AROUND AGAIN: A 21-12 rise for "What Goes Around... Comes Around" (Jive) gives Justin Timberlake three songs in the top 20 of The Billboard Hot 100. "My Love" slides 6-8 and "SexyBack" dips 13-16; both of those songs spent time at No. 1.

Timberlake is the first lead artist to register three songs in the top 20 since 50 Cent did it in May 2005 with "Just a Lil Bit," "Candy Shop" and "Disco Inferno."


'IRREPLACEABLE' OBJECT IS UNMOVABLE FORCE: Beyonce banks a seventh week at No. 1 on the Hot 100 with "Irreplaceable" (Columbia). That ties Justin Timberlake's "SexyBack" as the longest running No. 1 among the songs that moved into first place in 2006.

It also means that the first new No. 1 of 2007 won't arrive until at least February. That's late, going by the last two years. The first new No. 1 of 2006 was D4L's "Laffy Taffy," which hit the apex the week of Jan. 14. The year 2005 began with the earliest possible arrival of a new chart-topper: Mario's "Let Me Love You" hit the highest mark on Jan. 1.


'HSM' RIPPLE EFFECT: Two artists related to the "High School Musical" franchise have the top two debuts on the Hot 100. Jordan Pruitt, the 15-year-old Georgia native who is the opening act for the "High School Musical" concert tour, earns Hot Shot Debut honors with "Jump to the Rhythm" (Walt Disney). The song is from the soundtrack to the latest Disney Channel TV movie, "Jump In!" The album enters The Billboard 200 at No. 5.

"High School Musical" co-star Ashley Tisdale bows at No. 77 with her Warner Bros. single, "He Said She Said."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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