Chart Beat

Hot 100 Chart Moves: Sam Smith Brings 'Merry Little Christmas' to Chart for First Time

Tim Goode/PA Photos /Landov

Sam Smith performs during the No Tomorrow festival, held at Wollaton Hall, Nottingham.

Smith's version of the 70-year-old ballad makes its first Hot 100 appearance, joining carols by Mariah Carey and Ariana Grande. Plus, moves for Usher and Charli XCX.

As previously reported, Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" leads the Billboard Hot 100 for a fifth week, while Ed Sheeran scores his highest-charting hit with "Thinking Out Loud" (24-6).

Who else scales the Hot 100 this week?

Usher, "I Don't Mind" (featuring Juicy J)
The track darts 45-37, granting Usher his 31st top 40 Hot 100 hit. He first reached the region when "You Make Me Wanna…" debuted at No. 25 on Aug. 23, 1997. Powering the rise of "Mind": its 48-39 lift on Radio Songs (33 million in audience, up 21 percent, according to Nielsen Music).

Mariah Carey, "All I Want for Christmas Is You"
Carey's carol is a top 40 Hot 100 hit again, jingling 50-40. (Older songs are eligible for the chart if ranking in the top 50 and resurging in multiple metrics. Since the song was not available as a commercial single upon its original 1994 release, it didn't then hit the Hot 100, per rules at the time). It rose to its best rank, No. 21, during the 2012-13 holiday season. On the Holiday 100, "Christmas" returns to No. 1, where it's ranked for almost all of the chart's brief history.

Ariana Grande, "Santa Tell Me"
Speaking of the holidays, Grande grows 92-64 on the Hot 100 with her original seasonal song. Streaming leads the way, as it soars 9-2 on Holiday Streaming Songs with an 89 percent burst to 2.6 million U.S. streams following the Dec. 12 premiere of its official video.

Sam Smith, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
One more yuletide tune: Smith debuts on the Hot 100 at No. 90 with his take on "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." Incredibly, it's the first charted version of the song on the Hot 100 (which launched in 1958). The track blasts 47-9 in its second week on the Holiday 100, with the majority of its points from sales; it gains by 58 percent to 23,000 downloads sold. It also debuts on Adult Contemporary at No. 15. Other versions of the song on the Holiday 100: by Frank Sinatra (No. 41), Christina Aguilera (No. 56) and Michael Buble (No. 86).

Sam Smith's 'In the Lonely Hour' Hits 1 Million in U.S. Sales

The Carpenters, Barry Manilow, Sarah McLachlan, the Pretenders and James Taylor are among other acts that have interpreted "Christmas," which was written by Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin and introduced by Judy Garland in the 1944 musical Meet Me in St. Louis.

Charli XCX, "Break the Rules"
The winner of the Hitmaker Honor at Billboard's 2014 Women in Music celebration bows at No. 100 with "Break the Rules." The single from her album Sucker, due on next week's Billboard 200, holds at its No. 27 high on the Pop Songs radio airplay chart. Charli XCX has reached the Hot 100's top 10 in each of her three prior visits: as featured on Icona Pop's "I Love It" (No. 7, 2013), Iggy Azalea's "Fancy" (No. 1, seven weeks, beginning in June), and with her own "Boom Clap" (No. 8 in October).