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News on Popstars, Janet Jackson, Gloria Estefan, O Brother Where Art Thou, Coyote Ugly

STARMAKER MACHINERY: The "Popstars" conquest of the world continues. Following the success of singles from the "Popstars" groups in Australia, Germany, the U.K., and the U.S., the Netherlands has fallen sway to the television series.

Dutch chart expert Johan van Slooten reports that the debut single from Starmaker, "Damn (I Think I Love You)" (Zomba), is the fastest-selling single in Holland since Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997." The Starmaker single is the first to debut at No. 1 since last October, when "Beautiful Day" by U2 opened in the pole position. But van Slooten also notes that "Damn" is the first single by a group making its first chart appearance to enter at No. 1 in the history of the Dutch Mega Top 100.

Van Slooten adds a twist to this chart item, pointing out that "Damn" was written and produced by Swedes, continuing the strong bond between Swedish music and the month of April:

- On April 3, 1976, ABBA had their first Dutch No. 1 with "Fernando."
- On April 1, 1989, Roxette debuted in the Dutch chart with "The Look."
- On April 13, 1991, Roxette had their first (and only) Dutch No. 1 hit with "Joyride."
- In April 1993, Ace of Base entered the top-10 with their first and biggest hit, "All That She Wants."
- On April 3, 1999, Britney Spears bounced back to No. 1 with "...Baby One More Time," written and produced by Swedes.

The good fortune of Swedes in April has a long history in the U.S. as well, as noted in Chart Beat many times in the past. Van Slooten summarizes that link:

- On April 6, 1974, ABBA won the Eurovision Song Contest with "Waterloo," on the same day "Hooked on a Feeling" by Blue Swede was No. 1 in the U.S., the first Swedish No. 1 on the Hot 100.
- On April 9, 1977, ABBA had their first and only U.S. No. 1 with "Dancing Queen."
- On April 8, 1989, Roxette had their first U.S. No. 1 with "The Look."
- On April 2, 1994, "The Sign" by Ace of Base spent its sixth and final week at No. 1, making it the longest running Swedish No. 1 ever in the Hot 100.

THREE FOR THREE: "Chart Beat" reader William Simpson of Los Angeles noticed an oddity about the current occupant of the No. 1 slot on The Billboard Hot 100. Janet Jackson's "All for You" (Virgin) is only the second No. 1 song in the history of the Hot 100 to have as many letters in each word of its title as there are words in its title (in this case: three words; three letters in each word). The other? "Say, Say, Say" by Paul McCartney & Michael Jackson.

THE 'BROTHER' COUNT: "Chart Beat" has been keeping track of the progress of the soundtrack to the Coen Brothers' film "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" (Mercury Nashville) on Billboard's Top Country Albums chart. Last week, "Brother" was No. 1 for the ninth week, matching the reign of "Hope Floats," the longest run of a No. 1 soundtrack in the history of the chart.

If "Brother" had topped the chart again this week, it would have had the record all to itself. But not only did it fall from the summit, it allowed a potential challenger to its record to capture pole position. "Coyote Ugly" (Curb) returns to No. 1, and is now in its eighth non-consecutive week at the top. That puts "Ugly" into a tie with "Urban Cowboy" as the second-longest running No. 1 soundtrack on the Top Country Albums tally.

One more week at the pinnacle will put "Coyote Ugly" into a three-way tie for the all-time champ. On the other hand, if "Brother" can wrestle "Coyote" to the ground, it will nab that all-important tenth week at No. 1. All eyes will be on the country album chart next week to see how things shape up.

'NOWHERE' WOMAN: Her name doesn't appear on the promo single, but there's no mistaking the voice. "Out of Nowhere" (Epic) enters Billboard's Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart at No. 44, and the name is listed on the chart: Gloria Estefan.