Hot Shot Debuts: Chris Brown not only earns the Hot Shot Debut award on The Billboard Hot 100 this week, he does so while charting two other singles within the top 10. It’s new track “Forever,” debuting at No. 9, that earns him this week’s trophy, but his duet with Jordin Sparks, “New Air,” holds steady at No. 3 while “With You” is at No. 10. This is the second time Brown has managed to place three songs within the chart’s top 10 — and in only a month’s time, no less. Meanwhile, “Forever” — which sold 113,000 downloads its first week out — matches Yael Naim’s “New Soul” as the highest Hot 100 debut of 2008.
Folk comedy duo Flight of the Conchords earns the Hot Shot Debut award on The Billboard 200 for its self-titled full-length. The album, following closely on the heels of a fall EP release that reached only slot 116 on the chart, moved 52,000 copies to land at No. 3.
Prodigy of Mobb Deep is the hot shot of the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart this week thanks to “H.N.I.C. Pt. 2,” his third solo set. The album enters the list at No. 3.
On Top Country Albums, it’s Phil Vassar sewing on Hot Shot Debut stripes for “Prayer of a Common Man,” which gets its start at No. 3. The album also enters The Billboard 200 at No. 10 with sales of 27,000. Vassar’s quick start with “Prayer” is fueled by lead single “Love Is a Beautiful Thing,” which bullets at No. 5 on Hot Country Songs, his highest perch on that list since the June 24, 2006 issue.
Greatest Gainers: Leona Lewis continues to enjoy chart prominence as she grabs the Greatest Gainer/Digital award on the Hot 100 for “Bleeding Love,” which rebounds 2-1 and once again flip-flops with Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop,” which falls to No. 2. “Bleeding Love” is also back to No. 1 on Hot Digital Songs, having moved 236,000 downloads this week — a 29% improvement — thanks in part to the singer’s performance on “American Idol” last week. But Lil Wayne isn’t just rolling over: “Lollipop,” featuring Static Major, earns the Greatest Gainer/Airplay award on the chart and is only down slightly on the downloads side — 4% — to 176,000, putting the track at No. 3 on Hot Digital Songs.
Michael Buble is the big chart’s Greatest Gainer, as his “Call Me Irresponsible” flies 46-19 on sales of 20,000 in its 52nd week out. The 65% sales gain is propelled by a new promotional push for the album timed to the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday.
Will Downing sews on Greatest Gainer stripes for “After Tonight” on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums as the set jumps 96-54 with a 136% sales increase in its 26th week. The bump may be tied to a sale at Circuit City on a Downing catalog title.
And on Top Country Albums, Anne Murray is the Greatest Gainer of the week with “Duets: Friends & Legends,” which moves 44-38 with a 27% sales increase to 2,000.
Pacesetters: The Beatles set the pace on The Billboard 200 with “Love” as it gallops 198-103 almost 18 months after its release (Nov. 2006) on the back of a 79% sales bump to 6,000. The lift comes courtesy of the continuing success of the accompanying Cirque de Soleil show in Las Vegas: “Love” was the top-selling album in Vegas during the tracking week.
Plies earns the Pacesetter trophy on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums for “Real Definitions,” which moves 98-59 in its second week with a 95% sales increase.
Over on Top Country Albums, Pacesetter honors belong to Kathy Mattea’s “Coal” as it climbs 75-68 with a 15% sales bump in its third week out. The album also stands at No. 3 on Top Bluegrass Albums.
–Susan Visakowitz with additional reporting by Keith Caulfield, Raphael George, Katie Hasty, Wade Jessen, Geoff Mayfield and Silvio Pietroluongo