In what an RCA Records representative terms a "perfect storm" of radio airplay, digital sales and pop culture prominence, Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" rises from No. 2 to No. 1 on this week's Billboard Hot 100 songs chart. The uptempo pop anthem becomes the original "American Idol" champion's third leader on the list.
Clarkson first reigned with her "Idol" coronation song "A Moment Like This" for two weeks in 2002. She returned to the summit with "My Life Would Suck Without You" for two weeks beginning this week in 2009.
"Stronger" soars to the Hot 100's top spot with top Airplay Gainer honors, charging 33-15 on the Radio Songs chart (58 million audience impressions, up 49%, according to Nielsen BDS).
On the Digital Songs survey, "Stronger" spends a second week at No. 1. The song sold 237,000 downloads (up 6%) in the list's tracking week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The sum marks Clarkson's second-best sales week, outpaced only by the debut frame of "My Life" (280,000).
Aiding Clarkson and her new leader's profile, the singer performed the national anthem before Sunday's Super Bowl (Feb. 6) in Indianapolis. With 111.3 million viewers on NBC, the NFL championship game became the most-watched event in TV history, according to Nielsen.
"Stronger" also serves as the soundtrack to Toyota's current TV spot for its Camry model, in which Clarkson, from the driver's seat, leads a sing-along of the song with the seemingly unlikely trio of ESPN's Chris Berman, Bravo's James Lipton and the Travel Channel's Andrew Zimmern.
As Clarkson motors to the Hot 100's top spot, Adele's "Set Fire to the Rain" descends to No. 2 after two weeks at No. 1. The song pushes 4-2 on Radio Songs (127 million, up 8%) and holds at No. 2 on Digital Songs (after leading the tally three weeks ago) with 165,000 downloads sold (down 1%).
Adele's "21," meanwhile, logs a 19th week atop the Billboard 200 albums chart.
Both Clarkson and Adele are among the scheduled performers at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards, to be broadcast Sunday (Feb. 12) at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.
Rihanna's former 10-week Hot 100 topper "We Found Love," featuring Calvin Harris, slips 3-4, although it spends an 12th frame at No. 1 on Radio Songs (135 million, down 7%). "Love" is one of just 13 titles to command the airplay chart for at least 12 weeks since the list launched in late 1990.
David Guetta's "Turn Me On," featuring Nicki Minaj, remains at No. 5 on the Hot 100, jumping into the top 10 (12-8) on Radio Songs (69 million, up 13%) and staying static at No. 3 on Digital Songs (148,000 down 9%).
The next three titles in the Hot 100's top 10 all climb to new high points: Jessie J's "Domino" (8-6); Tyga's "Rack City" (10-7); and, Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa's "Young, Wild & Free," featuring Bruno Mars (12-8).
LMFAO's former two-week No. 1 "Sexy and I Know It" (7-9) and Mars' "It Will Rain" (6-10) round out the Hot 100's top tier.
Just outside the top 10, Madonna roars onto the Hot 100 at No. 13 with "Give Me All Your Luvin'," featuring Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. The first single from Madonna's 12th studio album, "MDNA," due March 26, blasts onto Digital Songs at No. 7 (115,000) and Radio Songs at No. 28 (44 million).
Like Clarkson, Her Madgesty enjoyed a Super Bowl spotlight, having performed "Luvin'," along with portions of her past smashes, at the big game's halftime festivities. The track also received special attention from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment's more than 50 monitored pop stations, which played it at the top of every hour from Friday at 9 a.m. ET until kickoff Sunday night.
"Luvin' " marks Madonna's 56th Hot 100 appearance, tying her with Dionne Warwick for the second-most visits among women. Only the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin (73 entries), outdistances the Queen of Pop and Warwick in the category.
The No. 13 Hot 100 entrance of "Luvin' " ties 1992's "Erotica" for Madonna's fourth-highest. She arrived at loftier ranks only with "Ray of Light" (No. 5, 1998), "You'll See" (No. 8, 1995) and "Frozen" (No. 8, 1998).
Check billboard.com tomorrow (Feb. 9), when all rankings, including the Hot 100 in its entirety and the Digital Songs and Radio Songs charts, will be refreshed, as they are each Thursday.