Fred discusses Rihanna, Billboard's AC chart and Eurovision Song Contest with readers.

SENDING OUT AN S.O.S.

Dear Fred,

Why is Rihanna's "SOS" only No. 34 on the Billboard Hot 100? It's No. 7 on the Pop 100 and No. 2 on the Pop 100 airplay chart.

SOS! Please help me understand this.

Thanks,

Kevin Cowan
Knoxville, Tenn.

Dear Kevin,

"SOS" is a worthy contender for the top 10. So why isn't the song, which samples "Tainted Love," higher on the Hot 100 than No. 34?

Until this week, Rihanna's "SOS" has been charting based solely on its airplay, because the song was not available for sale. That has changed -– dramatically. In its first day of release, "SOS" immediately topped iTunes' sales chart. That's a good indicator that "SOS" is going to experience a surge on next week's Hot 100.

Maybe Rihanna will earn her first No. 1 hit; you may recall her debut single "Pon de Replay" peaked at No. 2.



COUNTRY MUSIC FROM NEW JERSEY

Hello Fred!

Some very interesting news on the adult contemporary front: For the first time since June 2005, there are three country songs in the top 10 on Billboard's AC chart: Keith Urban is at No. 6 with "Making Memories Of Us," LeAnn Rimes is at No. 9 with "Probably Wouldn't Be This Way" and Faith Hill moving 11-10 with "Like We Never Loved At All."

Another piece of interesting news is that there are four artists or groups on this chart with at least two songs apiece. Rob Thomas of matchbox twenty has three ("Lonely No More", "Ever the Same" and "This Is How a Heart Breaks"), Kelly Clarkson ("Because of You" and "Walk Away"), Carrie Underwood ("Some Hearts" and "Jesus, Take the Wheel") and Barry Manilow ("Unchained Melody" and "Love Is a Many Splendored Thing").

One last note: Even though Jennifer Nettles is not billed on this chart, Bon Jovi's "Who Says You Can't Go Home" is No. 18 on the AC chart, making that four country songs on the AC top 20. It is also the official No. 1 song on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, the first true duet to top this list since "When the Sun Goes Down" in April 2004. You would probably have to look to the manager of the country chart to find the last rock act to achieve this feat.

John Maverick
Omaha, Neb.

Dear John,

It may be a long way from Bon Jovi's native New Jersey to Nashville, but the group has conquered our Hot Country Songs chart. For more about previous rock acts to top this survey, see Chart Beat.



AND VISIONS OF EUROVISION DANCED IN HIS HEAD

Dear Fred,

I know that you are a fan of the Eurovision Song Contest. Have you listened to any of this year's contestants and do you have any favorites?

Henrik Malinen
Sweden

Dear Henrik,

I have heard all 37 entries in this year's contest, set to take place May 20 in Athens. I have also watched many of the national finals, where the countries that participate in Eurovision choose their song for the competition.

The 51st Eurovision Song Contest should be an interesting one, with some well-known artists competing. Your country is sending one of its most popular female vocalists, Carola, who won Eurovision in 1991 with "Fångad Av en Stormvind." Spain is sending Las Ketchup, the sisters who scored an international hit in 2002 with "Aserejé" ("The Ketchup Song"). Their Eurovision entry is "Bloody Mary."

Belgium is also sending an established, popular artist, Kate Ryan ("Je T'Adore), as is Greece, whose representative is Anna Vissi ("Everything"). Ireland's Brian Kennedy ("Every Song Is a Cry for Love") is also well known, and Malta's Fabrizio Faniello ("I Do") has appeared on singles charts throughout Europe.

There are about 10 entries out of the 37 that I think have a serious chance to win this year. My personal favorite at the moment is "Tornero" by Mihai Traistariu from Romania.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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