"Glee's" take on Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal" is off to a fast start.
Covered by the show's Grant Gustin and Naya Rivera (with guests 2Cellos) on its Jan. 31 Michael Jackson-themed episode, the single could perhaps sell 80,000 to 100,000 downloads by the end of the tracking week on Feb. 5. That figure could it earn one of the biggest sales weeks for any single released in "Glee's" third season.
"It is an unbelievable honor to even get to be a part of such a legendary song by the one and only Michael Jackson on one of America's favorite TV shows," Gustin tells Billboard. "I had a blast doing this song with Naya Rivera and the positive response from the fans is an unexpected bonus to an already surreal opportunity."
"Smooth Criminal" was performed in the "Glee" episode as a dueling duet between New Directions' glee club member Santana (Rivera) and the Warblers' captain Sebastian (Gustin).
So far, the show's sales best week in season three came with the mash-up of Adele's "Rumour Has It/Someone Like You," as it sold 160,000 in its premiere frame according to Nielsen SoundScan. Next is their rendition of fun.'s "We Are Young" (a 137,000 bow) and David Guetta's "Without You" (97,000).
If "Smooth Criminal" ultimately sells around 100,000, that could enable a debut on the Digital Songs chart somewhere in the top 20. Over on the Billboard Hot 100 (which blends sales, airplay and streaming data), it may arrive within the top 40.
Curiously, Sony Masterworks recording duo 2Cellos isn't credited as an artist on the track in the iTunes Store. It's often customary for guest stars to receive featured billing, and thus ultimately receive credit on the Billboard charts. In the past, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jonathan Groff, Kristin Chenoweth, Olivia Newton-John, Neil Patrick Harris and Idina Menzel have all earned featured billing.
( UPDATE: Feb. 2, 3:13 PM PST: Sony has informed Billboard that the oversight was a clerical error and that 2Cellos will receive credit on the track beginning Friday, Feb. 3, in the iTunes Store.)