CHART BEAT BONUS

Fred Bronson reports on the latest chart feats of Tim McGraw, "American Idol" and more.

'LIVE' FOR TODAY: Tim McGraw claims his 20th No. 1 on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart as "Live Like You Were Dying" (Curb) advances 2-1. "Live" made the climb to the summit in seven weeks, making it the third-fastest chart-topper in McGraw's 12-year chart run.

McGraw's quickest ride to the top was his 1997 duet with wife Faith Hill. "It's Your Love" reached pole position in its fifth chart week in June of that year.

In 1995, McGraw's "I Like It, I Love It" was sitting on top of the chart by its sixth chart week.

"Live Like You Were Dying" is McGraw's third No. 1 in a row, following "Real Good Man" in October 2003 and "Watch the Wind Blow By" in March. His longest run of chart-toppers occurred in 2001-02, when he had five in a row: "Grown Men Don't Cry," "Angry All the Time," "Bring on the Rain," "The Cowboy in Me" and "Unbroken."


FIRST AND SECOND: For the first time since the series debuted, the winner and runner-up of "American Idol" appear in that same order on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles Sales chart. Fantasia continues at No. 1 for a second week with "I Believe" (J), while Diana DeGarmo bows at No. 2 with "Dreams" (RCA).

First season winner Kelly Clarkson moved to No. 1 on the Hot 100 Singles Sales tally with her debut single "A Moment Like This" the week of Oct. 5, 2002. But runner-up Justin Guarini never appeared on this chart, as his song "Sorry" was not a commercial single.

After the second season finale of "American Idol," runner-up Clay Aiken debuted at No. 1 with "This Is the Night" / "Bridge Over Troubled Water," while winner Ruben Studdard entered at No. 2 with "Flying Without Wings" / "Superstar."

On the Hot 100, DeGarmo's "Dreams" opens at No. 14, the third highest debut of 2004. Only Fantasia's "I Believe" at No. 1 and Aiken's "Solitaire" at No. 4 had higher first week positions.

The last six songs to debut in the top 15 of the Hot 100 have all come from "American Idol" finalists. They are:

• "God Bless the U.S.A.," American Idol Finalists (debuted at No. 4 the week of May 3, 2003)
• "This Is the Night," Clay Aiken (debuted at No. 1 the week of June 28, 2003)
• "Flying Without Wings," Ruben Studdard (debuted at No. 2 the week of June 28, 2003)
• "Solitaire," Clay Aiken (debuted at No. 4 the week of April 3, 2004)
• "I Believe," Fantasia (debuted at No. 1 the week of July 10, 2004)
• "Dreams," Diana DeGarmo (debuted at No. 14 the week of July 17, 2004)


ONE BY ONE: With Fantasia falling 1-6 on the Hot 100, "I Believe" is the third song to reign for one lone week in 2004, following "The Way You Move" by OutKast featuring Sleepy Brown and "Slow Jamz" by Twista featuring Kanye West and Jamie Foxx.

There could be more one-week chart-toppers this year, but it's already the first calendar year since 2000 to have at least three No. 1 songs remain in pole position for just one week.

There were five different No. 1 songs that topped the chart for a single week in 2000:

• "Thank God I Found You," Mariah Carey featuring Joe and 98 Degrees
• "Try Again," Aaliyah
• "Everything You Want," Vertical Horizon
• "Bent," matchbox twenty
• "With Arms Wide Open," Creed


APOLOGY ACCEPTED: The title "Sorry" seems to be a popular one with finalists on "Idol" shows around the world.

As mentioned above, Justin Guarini recorded a song with that title on his first album. It was released as a single to radio, but not to retail.

Ruben Studdard's second single was "Sorry 2004." And now Hanna Pakarinen, winner of "Finnish Idol," has a song called "Sorry" on her album "When I Become Me" (RCA), No. 2 in Finland this week.