Chart Beat

Fred discusses Kimberley Locke, other American Idols, Incubus and more!

'JINGLE' ALL THE WAY: It's beginning to look a lot like Kimberley Locke has a lock on Christmas. For the second year in a row, she tops the Adult Contemporary chart with a seasonal song written in the 19th century. Last year, Locke's version of "Up on the Housetop," composed by Benjamin Handy in 1864, was on top of the AC house for four weeks. This year, Locke recorded a song that is even older than "Housetop." James Pierpont wrote "Jingle Bells" in Medford, Mass. in 1850, although it didn't get wider public recognition until 1857.

While "Jingle Bells" has been recorded by hundreds if not thousands of artists, this is only the second time the song has appeared on the AC list. Exactly one year ago this week, a version by Diana Krall featuring the Clayton/Hamilton Jazz Orchestra debuted at No. 17, the same position where Locke's rendition entered two weeks ago. Krall's recording peaked at No. 5.

"Jingle Bells" is Locke's fifth AC chart entry and her second consecutive No. 1, following "Up on the Housetop." This is the seventh holiday season in a row that a song themed to this time of the year has topped the AC survey. Locke is one of three artists to have had twin Christmas hits; the others are Jim Brickman and Josh Groban. Here are the No. 1 AC holiday tunes of the past seven seasons:

"The Christmas Shoes," NewSong (one week)
"Simple Things," Jim Brickman featuring Rebecca Lynn Howard (one week)
"O Holy Night," Josh Groban (two weeks)
"Sending You a Little Christmas," Jim Brickman with Kristy Starling (one week)
"Believe," Josh Groban (five weeks)
"Up on the Housetop," Kimberley Locke (four weeks)
"Jingle Bells," Kimberley Locke (one week to date)

"Jingle Bells" is the sixth song to advance to No. 1 on the AC chart in 2006. That's more than last year's four, and equals the six songs that achieved pole position in 2000 and 2003. There were seven chart-toppers in 2001 and eight in 2002 and 2004.

Here, in chronological order, are the songs that moved to No. 1 on the AC chart in 2006:

"You and Me," Lifehouse (nine weeks)
"You're Beautiful," James Blunt (seven weeks)
"Bad Day," Daniel Powter (19 weeks)
"Unwritten," Natasha Bedingfield (nine weeks)
"What Hurts the Most," Rascal Flatts (four weeks)
"Jingle Bells," Kimberley Locke (one week to date)

Regular Chart Beat readers know that this column has been keeping track of how many No. 1 hits the "American Idol" franchise has earned to date. "Jingle Bells" gives Locke the 107th No. 1 for "Idol," counting all domestic, national charts compiled by the Billboard Information Group.

'HEARTS' BEATING ALL OTHERS: An earlier "American Idol" No. 1 that first topped a chart over a year ago is still No. 1. Carrie Underwood's "Some Hearts" debuted on Top Country Albums the week of Dec. 3, 2005. In its 56th frame on the chart, the album is in its 17th non-consecutive week in the penthouse.

That beats the 16-week reign of the Dixie Chicks' "Home" to make "Some Hearts" the longest-running No. 1 album on the country survey since the soundtrack to "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" had a non-consecutive 35-week run at the top.

AND SHE IS TELLING US: The Oscar buzz is growing deeper for Jennifer Hudson. Her brilliant performance in "Dreamgirls" has already led to being named Best Supporting Actress by more than one group of film critics, and now her role in the movie musical had led her to the Billboard charts.

While she has charted as one of the season three "American Idol" finalists, and under the fictional name of Deena Jones and the Dreams on Hot Dance Club Play with the song "One Night Only" from the film, Hudson has never appeared on a Billboard chart under her own name until this week.

If Hudson does win an Academy Award, it will partially be due to her stunning rendition of "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going," a song designed to bring down the house if there ever was one. That track debuts on the Pop 100 at No. 93. The uber-dramatic "And I Am Telling You" was first a hit in 1982 for Jennifer Holliday, who originated the role of Effie White in the Broadway production of "Dreamgirls." Holliday's single peaked at No. 22 on the Hot 100. In December 2001, a recording of the song by Rosabel with Jennifer Holliday went to No. 6 on Hot Dance Club Play.

The debut of her "Dreamgirls" song makes Hudson the 25th contestant from "American Idol" to appear on a Billboard chart. Her season was already ahead in terms of number of Idols charted, so Hudson's appearance on the Pop 100 extends that lead.

Season one: (five)
Kelly Clarkson
Justin Guarini
Tamyra Gray
R.J. Helton
Jim Verraros

Season two: (four)
Ruben Studdard
Clay Aiken
Kimberley Locke
Josh Gracin

Season three: (seven)
Diana DeGarmo
Jasmine Trias
LaToya London
George Huff
Jennifer Hudson
John Stevens

Season four: (three)
Carrie Underwood
Bo Bice
Mario Vazquez

Season five: (five)
Taylor Hicks
Katharine McPhee
Elliot Yamin
Chris Daughtry
Kellie Pickler

MATHERS OF THE CHART: Eminem's 21st chart entry on The Billboard Hot 100 is the highest-debuting song of his career. "You Don't Know" (Shady), billed to Eminem, 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks and Cashis, bows at No. 12. That beats the No. 17 debut of "Just Lose It" in October 2004.

"You Don't Know" is the 24th chart entry for 50 Cent and his also his highest debut, topping the No. 53 opening of "Candy Shop" in February 2005. It's the fourth chart entry for Banks and is his highest debut, outranking the No. 65 bow of "On Fire" in May 2004. This is Cashis' first song to appear on the Hot 100.

"You Don't Know" is in a three-way tie as the second highest debuting song of 2006. Also opening at No. 12 were "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Katharine McPhee and "Ring the Alarm" by Beyonce. The only song to enter in a higher position was Taylor Hicks' "Do I Make You Proud," which spent its first week on the chart at No. 1.

'WANT' ADDS UP: Back in 2005, Sugarland's first two singles peaked at No. 2 on "Hot Country Songs." "Baby Girl" spent two weeks in the runner-up spot and the follow-up, "Something More," spent five heartbreaking weeks in second place. The next three chart entries didn't fare as well, with none reaching higher than No. 7, the peak position for "Just Might (Make Me Believe)" in February. But now, two years and five months after making their chart debut, Sugarland is sitting at the summit at last. "Want To" (Mercury) glides 2-1 to finally give the duo the top rung.

THE HARDER THEY FALL: Incubus sets a new record on this week's The Billboard 200, but it's probably not one the group will boast about. After debuting last week at the head of the class, the album "Light Grenades" (Immortal/Epic) plunges to No. 37. That's the biggest drop from No. 1 in the history of this chart.

Previously, the biggest one-week fall from the lead spot was the 1-21 drop experienced by Marilyn Manson's "The Golden Age of Grotesque," the week of June 7, 2003.

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