Chart Beat

Fred discusses American Idols, Justin Timberlake and more!

IDOL VS. IDOL: Last week it seemed certain that Carrie Underwood was going to collect the 100th No. 1 for the "American Idol" franchise, but certainty flew out the window because her single "Before He Cheats" (Arista) holds at No. 2 on Hot Country Songs. Underwood could still claim the 100th "Idol" chart-topper next week, but suddenly she has a surprise challenger.

Fourth-season title-holder Underwood is going to have to beat second-season "American Idol" winner Ruben Studdard to pole position. Studdard's "Change Me" (J) single leaps 5-2 on Adult R&B and could be No. 1 next week.

To date, there have been 99 No. 1s for the popular TV talent search series, counting all domestic charts compiled by the Billboard Information Group. The 99th No. 1 occurred four weeks ago, when Clay Aiken's "A Thousand Different Ways" debuted at No. 1 on Top Internet Albums.

"Change Me" is Studdard's sixth chart entry on the Adult R&B tally. It is already his second biggest hit, runner-up to "Sorry 2004," which reigned for six weeks in March-April 2004. Here is a summary of Studdard's chart success on the Adult R&B list, in order of highest rank:

"Sorry 2004," No. 1 (2004)
"Change Me," No. 2 (2006)
"Superstar," No. 6 (2003)
"What If," No. 14 (2004)
"I Need an Angel," No. 21 (2004)
"Ain't No Need to Worry," No. 31 (2005)

"Change Me," the first single from Studdard's third album, "The Return," takes an 11-point jump on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, landing at No. 28. The album debuts on The Billboard 200 at No. 8. On Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, "The Return" is a new entry at No. 2.

On The Billboard 200, Studdard's first album, "Soulful," spent one week at No. 1 in December 2003. The follow-up, "I Need an Angel," was a gospel album that peaked at No. 20 in December 2004.

On the R&B/Hip-Hop albums survey, "Soulful" was No. 1 for two weeks in January 2004. "I Need an Angel" peaked at No. 6.

'SEXYBACK' TO BACK: Justin Timberlake occupies two adjacent positions in the top five of The Billboard Hot 100, the first artist to have a pair of hits in the top five since Mariah Carey occupied the top two in September 2005. 50 Cent had three singles in the top five in March 2005.

Timberlake's former No. 1 hit, "SexyBack" (Jive) slips 2-4 while the follow-up, "My Love" (featuring T.I.), marches 8-5.

Carey's "We Belong Together" was No. 1 while her follow-up, "Shake It Off," was No. 2 the week of Sept. 10, 2005. Like Timberlake, 50 Cent was also No. 4 and No. 5, the week of March 12, 2005. "How We Do" by the Game featuring 50 Cent was holding at No. 4 and "Disco Inferno" by 50 Cent was up 6-5. Meanwhile, "Candy Shop" by 50 Cent featuring Olivia was in its second week at No. 1.

Timberlake's "My Love" is the fourth song with that title to reach the top five of the Hot 100. If it goes to No. 1, it will be the third different "My Love" to top the chart. Petula Clark's "My Love" was No. 1 in 1966 and Paul McCartney's song of the same name was No. 1 in 1973. Lionel Richie's "My Love" went to No. 5 in 1983.

'CHIM CHEREE' AGAIN: As big as the Beatles were in 1965 - and they had three No. 1 albums that year, including "Beatles '65," "Beatles VI" and "Help!" - the No. 1 album of 1965 was the soundtrack to "Mary Poppins." The supernanny of nannys remained in pole position for 14 weeks.

Now, 41 years later, "Mary Poppins" returns to a Billboard album chart. Like three other Walt Disney films, "Mary Poppins" has been transformed into a stage musical. The show opens on Broadway on Nov. 16 and is already in previews. The original London cast recording enters the Top Cast Albums chart at No. 9.

"Mary Poppins" thus joins the three other Disney musicals on the chart as well as the Great White Way. "The Lion King" holds at No. 5, "Tarzan" stands pat at No. 8 and "Beauty and the Beast" rebounds 15-14.

BARBARA AND: It's been 15 years since Barbara Mandrell had an album appear on Top Country Albums, but her star still shines bright enough for a tribute album to debut at No. 25.

"She Was Country When Country Wasn't Cool: A Tribute to Barbara Mandrell" (BNA), featuring artists such as Kenny Chesney, Reba McEntire, Brad Paisley, Gretchen Wilson, Willie Nelson and LeAnn Rimes, brings the retired Mandrell's name back to the chart for the first time since the week of Oct. 12, 1991, when "Key's in the Mailbox" peaked at No. 62.

Mandrell's chart career began the week of Nov. 6, 1971, with the debut of "Treat Him Right," an album that went on to peak at No. 44. Her highest-charting set was "Barbara Mandrell Live," No. 4 in 1981.

"She Was Country" also debuts on The Billboard 200, coming in at No. 121. Mandrell last appeared on this chart in the last quarter of 1984 with "Meant for Each Other," a duets album recorded with Lee Greenwood.

LONG 'PLAY': The name changes and so do the chart statistics. The artist currently known as Diddy in the United States scores his second No. 1 album on The Billboard 200, his first in nine years.

"Press Play" (Bad Boy) enters the album chart at No. 1, making it Diddy's second time to open in first place. "No Way Out" (by Puff Daddy and the Family) debuted and peaked at No. 1 in August 1997 and remained on top for four weeks.

"Press Play" is Diddy's third No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. "No Way Out" ruled for five weeks and "Forever" spent one week on top.