Lady Gaga's 'Perfect Illusion' Debuts on Pop Airplay Charts
Her much-anticipated new single bows after just three full days of airplay.
"Illusion" launches at No. 31 on Pop Songs and No. 32 on Adult Pop Songs (with both charts, dated Sept. 24, based on Nielsen Music data; all charts will update on Billboard's platforms tomorrow, Sept. 13). The song's start was powered in part by hourly plays on participating iHeartMedia pop stations and spins every other hour on iHeartMedia adult pop stations Sept. 9.
"Illusion," written and produced by Gaga, Mark Ronson and Tame Impala's Kevin Parker, with Bloodpop also claiming a production credit, previews Gaga's new studio album.
Gaga appeared on the syndicated Elvis Duran and the Morning Show, based at iHeartMedia's WHTZ (Z100) New York, Monday morning (Sept. 12) and chatted with Duran during the entire 8 a.m. ET hour. She confirmed that the album will be out before the end of the year, but didn't give a specific date, and revealed that the set's much buzzed-about collab with Florence Welch is called "Hey Girl."
Overall, the intimate interview found Gaga expressing a desire for more balance in her life, a theme central to the lyrics of "Illusion." "I care about being an artist, but I don't think it's fair that because I have a high-profile job I can cancel dinner with my dad," she said.
As for radio programmers' takes on "Illusion," "All indications suggest that it will be another big mainstream and cross-format hit for Gaga's Little Monsters ... and big adults, too," says SiriusXM vp of music programming Kid Kelly.
"Anything Gaga is always an event record," says CBS Radio vp of programming/Houston and Las Vegas Charese Fruge. "Illusion" "sounds a little old-school and familiar, yet it's very timely. A long-term hit? Not sure yet, but it will jump up the charts quickly."
"Illusion" has received a "relatively light response so far, with the exception of the Gaga diehards, who are adamantly outspoken about every song she's ever released," notes Erik Bradley, assistant program director/music director of CBS Radio's pop-formatted WBBM Chicago. "I personally like the song, and think it sounds better with every listen, although from conversations I've had with many of my contemporaries, opinions are all over the map; some good, many not as good.
"I can't say it's a hit or not yet. My hunch is it'll be impressive. The key will be to see where it is a few weeks from now."
On Pop Songs, where Gaga charts her 16th entry, the start of "Illusion" follows the top 20 debuts of the lead singles from her previous two solo pop albums. "Applause," from ARTPOP, launched at No. 20 in 2013 and "Born This Way," the title cut from her 2011 album, soared in at No. 14. (Gaga boasts seven No. 1s on Pop Songs, ranking her in sixth place among all artists for the most leaders in the chart's history, which dates to its 1992 beginning.)
"Illusion" has already topped two Billboard charts, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard + Twitter Top Tracks tally dated Sept. 3; the song led the list before it was even released, based on conversation about the song ahead of time. Following its premiere Thursday (Sept. 8), the track ranked at No. 1 on the real-time Billboard + Twitter Trending 140 chart, marking the eighth different day that it had led the list.
Following its first full week of sales and streaming, "Illusion" is set to debut on next week's Billboard Hot 100 (which combines airplay, sales and streaming data), dated Oct. 1. Highlights of the Oct. 1 chart will post next Monday (Sept. 19); check Billboard.com this week for updates on where the song might debut.