Keep your shirt on, PSY. At least for this week.
While the Korean rapper has pledged to perform 'Gangnam Style' "topless in a place where everyone can watch" should the song crown the Billboard Hot 100, Maroon 5 prevents the spectacle this week, as "One More Night" spends a third week at No. 1. PSY's smash, fueled by buzz generated by its video in which he deftly serves up his equine-esque moves, holds at No. 2.
The race was extremely close. "Night" bests "Style" by fewer than 500 overall chart points, after "Night" won last week by approximately 3,000 points. (This week's points difference between Nos. 1 and 2 is the thinnest, in fact, since the Feb. 18 chart.) Both titles gain in overall points this week, but "Style" closes the gap courtesy of an 8% overall points gain, while "Night" increased by less than 1%.
Key to Maroon 5 maintaining its lead? Radio airplay. "Night" remains at the Hot 100 summit with top Airplay Gainer honors for a fifth consecutive week, as it holds at No. 2 in its 10th week on the Hot 100 Airplay chart with a 15% increase to 116 million all-format audience impressions, according to Nielsen BDS. The radio run of "Style" is in its early stages, so it doesn't boast the stratospheric audience level of "Night." Still, "Style" surges by 37% to 46 million, pushing 34-23 on Hot 100 Airplay.
"Night" also wins the streaming battle, although "Style" makes a notable dash to overtake it. "Night" tops the On-Demand Songs ranking for a second week, registering a 4% gain to 807,000 on-demand streams, according to BDS. "Style," meanwhile, rockets 9-2 with a 30% increase to 799,000. The latter song's uptick grants it the Hot 100's top Streaming Gainer award. (In overall streaming points, which also include non-demand radio streaming data, the songs likewise place at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.)
The greatest victory for "Style" over "Night" this week is in digital sales. Despite a 2% decline to 294,000 downloads sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan, "Style," which dips 1-2 on the Hot Digital Songs chart, outranks "Night," which drops 2-4 with a 12% decrease to 181,000.
Clearly, PSY remains in contention for the Hot 100's coveted No. 1 rank next week.
Beyond the Hot 100's headline battle, the chart's top three positions remain static from last week. fun.'s "Some Nights" holds at its No. 3 peak, followed by Taylor Swift's former three-week No. 1 "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" (4-4) and P!nk's "Blow Me (One Last Kiss)" (5-5). "Kiss" spends a third week atop Hot 100 Airplay with a 6% increase to 121 million in audience.
Justin Bieber's "As Long as You Love Me," featuring Big Sean, returns to its highest Hot 100 rank so far (7-6), while Swift scores the chart's top debut, as "Begin Again" blasts in at No. 7. The entry is the highest since Maroon 5's "Payphone," featuring Wiz Khalifa, opened at No. 3 the week of May 5 and is the best by a woman since Katy Perry's "Part of Me" launched at No. 1 the week of March 3.
"Begin" begins at No. 1 on Hot Digital Songs with 299,000 downloads sold. (On the BDS-based Hot Country Songs chart, it starts at No. 37 with 3 million in listenership.) The song is the second preview track from Swift's Oct. 22 album Red, following "Never." A third song, the title track, is due to arrive on the Hot 100 next week; it currently ranks at No. 1 in the iTunes Store.
Rounding out the Hot 100's top 10, Flo Rida's former two-week No. 1 "Whistle" falls 6-8; Alex Clare's "Too Close" stays at No. 9; and Owl City and Carly Rae Jepsen's "Good Time" descends 8-10.
In addition to Swift's new arrival, two other highly-anticipated new singles by superstar divas roar onto the Hot 100's upper reaches. Ke$ha's "Die Young" enters at No. 13, registering a No. 3 start on Hot Digital Songs (188,000) and a No. 46 entrance on Hot 100 Airplay (31 million). The song previews her sophomore full-length album, Warrior, due Dec. 4.
Close behind, Rihanna shines with a No. 16 debut for "Diamonds," the lead single from her upcoming seventh studio set. The start ties for Rihanna's best as a lead act: she also debuted at No. 16 with "Stranded (Haiti Mon Amour)" (with Jay-Z, Bono and the Edge) the week of Feb. 6, 2010, and "We Found Love," featuring Calvin Harris (Oct. 8, 2011). She's begun at higher ranks twice as a featured act: on Eminem's "Love the Way You Lie" (No. 2, July 10, 2010) and Drake's "Take Care" (No. 9, Dec. 3, 2011).
"Diamonds" opens at No. 7 on Hot Digital Songs (133,000) and No. 28 on Hot 100 Airplay (42 million). Its first-day radio airplay (Sept. 26) was aided by top-of-the-hour promotional airplay on participating Clear Channel Media and Entertainment-owned stations.
Check billboard.biz tomorrow (Oct. 4), when all rankings, including the Hot 100, Hot Digital Songs, Hot 100 Airplay and On-Demand Songs, will be refreshed, as they are each Thursday.