Stories on "Pop Idol," Elvis Presley, and Nelly.
SPANISH IDOLS: After two airings of "American Idol," the U.S. version of the British TV series "Pop Idol," I have my own idea of which singers will end up in the top two. But whoever the runners-up are, they can take heart from examples in other countries that they can also have promising, even thriving, careers.
In the U.K., "Pop Idol" winner Will Young quickly became one of that country's most famous celebrities. He had an instant No. 1 hit with his cover of Westlife's "Evergreen," and another No. 1 hit with the follow-up, "Light My Fire." But second-place Gareth Gates spent one week longer in pole position with his first single, a new version of the pop classic "Unchained Melody." Contestant Rik Waller also had a top-10 hit, with an update of the Dolly Parton-penned "I Will Always Love You," a major hit for Whitney Houston. Contestant Jessica Garlick won the right to represent the U.K. at the 2002 Eurovision Song Contest and charted at No. 13 with "Come Back." Third-place contestant Darius is just releasing his first single, "Colour Blind."
But the U.K. results pale in comparison to Spain, where the TV series "Operacion Triunfo" captured the imagination of the public, as well as record ratings. There were 16 contestants on the series that debuted last October and ran for several months, and they were eliminated until three remained. From these three, one contestant was chosen to represent Spain at the Eurovision Song Contest. That contestant was Rosa, who sang "Europe's Living a Celebration" at Eurovision. Her album debuted at No. 1 on the Spanish chart, but she was not alone. Four other "Triunfo" contestants have also had No. 1 albums.
The latest success story from this TV series is David Bisbal, one of two runners-up to Rosa. Bisbal's "Corazon Latino" (Vale Music) debuts at No. 1 on the Spanish album chart this week, succeeding the debut album by the other runner-up, David Bustamante. Contestants Manu Tenorio and Nuria Fergo also had No. 1 albums, and contestants Chenoa and Gisela have albums in the top-10 this week.
The U.S. charts have already reflected the impact of TV series like "Popstars" (with Eden's Crush) and "Making the Band" (O-Town), but if "American Idol" continues to build on its first-night impressive Nielsen ratings (6.1 rating, which equals about 6.5 million U.S. households), we may be in for a flood of new artists dominating the Hot 100 in the coming months.
'LESS' IS MORE: The expected debut at No. 1 of Elvis Presley's "A Little Less Conversation" (RCA) on the U.K. singles chart this Sunday (June 16) rewrites the record books (see "Chart Beat Chat"). The single, credited as "Elvis vs. JXL," will be Presley's 18th No. 1 in the U.K., finally breaking the tie between Elvis and the Beatles for having the most No. 1 hits in Britain.
Ever since Presley's "Way Down" became a posthumous U.K. chart-topper in September 1977, Elvis has had 17 No. 1s in both the U.S. and the U.K., even though the lists are very different.
Here is a summary of Presley's British No. 1s, as of June 14:
"All Shook Up," seven weeks (1957)+
"Jailhouse Rock," three weeks (1958)+
"One Night" / "I Got Stung," three weeks (1959)
"(Now and Then There's) A Fool Such As I" / "I Need Your Love Tonight," five weeks (1959)
"It's Now or Never," eight weeks (1960)+
"Are You Lonesome Tonight," four weeks (1961)+
"Wooden Heart," six weeks (1961)
"Surrender," four weeks (1961)+
"(Marie's the Name) His Latest Flame" / "Little Sister," four weeks (1961)
"Rock-a-Hula Baby" / "Can't Help Falling in Love," four weeks (1962)
"Good Luck Charm," five weeks (1962)+
"She's Not You," three weeks (1962)
"Return to Sender," three weeks (1962)
"(You're the) Devil in Disguise," one week (1963)
"Crying in the Chapel," two weeks (1965)
"The Wonder of You," six weeks (1970)
"Way Down," five weeks (1977)
+ - indicates single was also No. 1 in the U.S.
HERRE, THERRE, AND EVERYWHERRE: Congratulations to Nelly, who scores the highest-ranking song of his career on Billboard's Hot 100. "Hot in Herre" (Fo' Reel/Universal), his seventh chart entry, moves 3-2 this week. Nelly's first chart entry also had a title that began with "Hot."
Here's how his seven titles have fared on the Hot 100:
"(Hot S**t) Country Grammar," No. 7 (2000)
"E.I.," No. 15 (2001)
"Ride Wit Me," No. 3 (2001) [Nelly featuring City Spud]
"Where the Party At," No. 3 (2001) [Jagged Edge with Nelly]
"#1," No. 22 (2001)
"Girlfriend," No. 5 (2002) ['N Sync featuring Nelly]
"Hot in Herre," No. 2 (to date) (2002)