Who Runs the Billboard Hot 100? Women!
Who Runs the Billboard Hot 100? Women!

With the debut of Katy Perry's "Part of Me" at No. 1 on the current Billboard Hot 100; Adele's double-duty with "Set Fire to the Rain" at No. 2 and "Rolling in the Deep" at No. 5; the 7-3 rise of Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You"; and, Kelly Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" remaining in the top five (1-4), the chart's entire top five is compromised of solo women.

(In fact, the entire top 10 would sport either a woman on lead or as a featured artist if not for Chris Brown's "Turn Up the Music" at No. 10; and, had the song's remix featuring Rihanna been available during the chart's tracking period, she might've been awarded a featured credit, making for a complete top 10 ladies' sweep).

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With the continued success of the artists above, plus the likes of Lady Gaga, Ke$ha, Britney Spears and others, it was, perhaps, only a matter of time until the (female) stars lined up for women to stage an all-out takeover of the Hot 100's top five.

When was the last time that such female control - only women in the entire top five - occurred?

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Well, solo women as lead artists last commanded the top five 10 and-a-half years ago, on the chart dated Sept. 8, 2001. Here's how the chart's top five shook out that week:

1, "I'm Real," Jennifer Lopez featuring Ja Rule
2, "Fallin'," Alicia Keys
3, "Someone to Call My Lover," Janet
4, "Hit 'Em Up Style," Blu Cantrell
5, "Let Me Blow Ya Mind," Eve featuring Gwen Stefani

Of course, Ja Rule crashed the girls' party that week, assisting Lopez on "Real."

So, has the top five previously been the domain of only solo women?

Yes. Here's a look back at the March, 20, 1999, Hot 100's top five, when seven solo women, in fact, inhabited the region:

1, "Believe," Cher
2, "Heartbreak Hotel," Whitney Houston featuring Faith Evans and Kelly Price
3, "Angel of Mine," Monica
4, "I Still Believe," Mariah Carey
5, "Angel," Sarah McLachlan

(In yet another example of Houston's seeming timelessness, she figures into the last two times that solo women, unaccompanied by featured male artists, have monopolized the Hot 100's top five: this week, and that frame in 1999).

Now that the fairer sex has ended its hiatus from commandeering the Hot 100's entire top five, it's the men's turn to end a somewhat similar drought. Solo males last dominated the top five as lead artists almost eight years ago. The week of April 17, 2004, the top five looked like this:

1, "Yeah!," Usher featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris
2, "Tipsy," J-Kwon
3, "I Don't Wanna Know," Mario Winans featuring Enya and P. Diddy
4, "One Call Away," Chingy featuring J. Weav
5, "Burn," Usher

Again, that week, a member of the opposite sex snuck in: Enya, courtesy of a sample of her 1987 song "Boadicea" on Winans' "Know."

But, only two weeks before, the top five was exclusively a boys club (featuring nine members). The April 3, 2004, Hot 100's top five consisted of:

1, "Yeah!," Usher featuring Lil Jon and Ludacris
2, "One Call Away," Chingy featuring J. Weav
3, "Tipsy," J-Kwon
4, "Solitaire," Clay Aiken
5, "Hotel," Cassidy featuring R. Kelly

Add in the regular presence of groups, and a five-for-five domination by solo women or men is clearly a Hot 100 rarity, one that Perry, Adele, Houston and Clarkson achieve this week.

Guys, it's your move. Considering the current success of Perry, Adele, Clarkson and others, however, we might be in for a lengthy wait.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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