How the singer/songwriter overcame adult alternative radio's skittishness about championing an 'American Idol' artist.
"Home" wasn't originally where rock radio programmers' hearts were.
TWO SHADES OF RED: With a debut at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, Ne-Yo's "R.E.D." (No. 4) joins Taylor Swift's "Red," which reigns for a third week, in the chart's top five.
This week doesn't mark the first pairing of two like-named albums in the tally's 200 top five, however (allowing leeway for the stylistic differences between the titles). The week of March 24, 2007, the Notorious B.I.G. (No. 1) and Gary Allan (No. 5) each entered the tier with sets titled "Greatest Hits."
Just two other identically-named albums have shared space simultaneously in the Billboard 200 top five. For 12 weeks in 1964, two companion releases to "Hello, Dolly!" - by Louis Armstrong and the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical's original cast - ranked in the region in tandem.
Not only are Swift and Ne-Yo's albums similar in name (the latter short for "realizing every dream"), but the Ne-Yo has also connected with Swift's music. "I feel like great minds think alike," Ne-Yo says. "I'm a Taylor Swift fan and I have been since her (2008) song 'Fifteen.' I was like, 'Okay, I feel you on that'."
'HEAVEN'-LY POP HIT: As "Locked Out of Heaven" climbs 7-6 on the Billboard Hot 100, Bruno Mars extends his perfect streak of reaching the Pop Songs airplay chart's top 10 to nine, as the song ascends 13-10 on the latter list.
Mars bests Lady Gaga (eight, 2008-11, a streak snapped by the No. 15-peaking "Judas") for the second-longest career-opening top 10 stretch since the chart launched in October 1992. Only Mariah Carey (whose career dates to 1990) boasts a larger sum, having sent her first 11 entries to the top 10 in 1993-97.
'GLEASE' IS THE WORD: The "Glee" cast's "Grease" tribute album "Glee: The Music Presents Glease" storms the Soundtracks chart at No. 1, marking the troupe's record-extending 15th No. 1. (The set could gain next week, since the Fox TV show's accompanying episode aired last night (Nov. 15).)
Only four other franchises have produced multiple leaders on Soundtracks: Miley Cyrus and her "Hannah Montana" alter-ego (nine), Big Time Rush, Cartoon Network virtual band Dethklok and Jonas Brothers (two each).
BACKSTREET'S BACK:Backstreet Boys top a Billboard chart for the first time in more than a decade, as "It's Christmas Time Again" rings in a debut atop Holiday Digital Songs. The boy band had last reigned in 2001, when "Around the World With the Backstreet Boys" ruled Music Video Sales.
The song marks the first from the quintet (which is counting down the minutes to its 20th anniversary next year) since Kevin Richardson rejoined his bandmates last year after a five-year hiatus.
"We're so proud of this song," Nick Carter says of the new single (whose title plays on the group's 2000 holiday chestnut "Christmas Time"). "There aren't that many original holiday songs out there. We really feel we made a timeless contribution to the season and a song our kids will be listening to.
"Plus, we have our boy Kevin back in the studio with us. This is a really exciting time."