Ask Billboard

This week, Keith answers readers' burning questions on Michelle Williams, David Cook and Alanis Morissette.

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Keith Caulfield at Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.



Just a quick email about Michelle Williams and her new assault on the Billboard charts. Her single "Break the Dawn" premiered in March yet we haven't seen anything happening with it in the charts.

The song is one of the best this year and really outshines, I think, anything that Kelly or Beyonce have released in a long while. Do you see Williams' campaign going anywhere and will the failure of this single do anything to stop a full on album campaign?


Chris Reilly
Belfast, Ireland

Hi Chris,

Amusingly enough, as I was sifting through my "Ask Billboard" inbox, I was listening to the remixes of Michelle Williams' "We Break the Dawn" that I bought from iTunes the other day.

And hey now, hold up! The song isn't a failure. It just recently debuted on a couple of our charts. On this week's Hot Dance Club Play chart (dated June 21), "Dawn" rose 47-38 in its second week on the chart. Over on the Hot Dance Radio Airplay chart this week, the song bowed at No. 16.

Through the week ending June 8, the "Dawn" had sold 12,000 digital downloads in the U.S. according to Nielsen SoundScan.

"Dawn" is Williams' first solo foray into the dance/pop world. After having released two gospel albums, her third set, titled "Unexpected," will be a pop affair. It's due later this summer on Music World/Columbia Records.


Hi Keith!

I just bought the deluxe edition of the new Alanis Morissette album "Flavors of Entanglement," and I was wondering if the deluxe edition will be counted towards the sales of the album. Will the sales of the standard edition and the deluxe edition be added together to get her sales total?

Shawn Reynolds
Portland, Oregon

Hi Shawn,

All of the different versions of Alanis Morissette's "Flavors of Entanglement" will have their sales combined into one total that will be reflected on the charts.

That includes the deluxe physical CD and digital versions that include anywhere from one to six additional tracks as a bonus.

As of this writing (June 13), based on its first-day sales, it looks like "Flavors" will bow within the top 10 of the Billboard 200 next week when we compile the new chart.



I know you are probably tired of all the David Cook hoopla, but I have another question to add to the growing pile.

For obvious reasons, "American Idol" / iTunes blocked all the digital songs from the current roster of contestants from charting until the winner was ultimately chosen.

However, has iTunes released the cumulative sales total for each of these songs? If so, which contestants/songs were the most popular based on paid downloads? For example, David Cook's excellent performance of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" is often referred to as a pivotal moment in his quest for the top Idol prize, and I wonder how many times it was purchased?

And, had the song been allowed to chart that week, where would it have landed on the Billboard Hot 100?

Thank you very much, and keep up the good work!

Beau Kelley
McDonough, Georgia

Hello Beau,

Alas, "American Idol" and iTunes have yet to release the cumulative sales for any of the songs they have offered for sale throughout the TV season.

For one week only, right after the finale, all of the songs sales sold during that one week were reported to Nielsen SoundScan, and in turn, to Billboard.

After that, all of the season's worth of songs were removed from the store. (For example, the only David Cook song available is "The Time of My Life.").