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Ask Billboard: Ariana Grande & Halsey’s Domination on the Hot 100; Shawn Mendes’ Career Sales & Streams

Women hold the top four spots for the first time since …?

Submit questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, tweet @gthot20

Hi Gary,

I noticed that this week, the top four songs on the Billboard Hot 100 (dated Feb. 23) are all credited to solo women:

1, “7 Rings,” Ariana Grande
2, “Break Up With Your Girlfriend, I’m Bored,” Ariana Grande
3, “Thank U, Next,” Ariana Grande
4, “Without Me,” Halsey

When was the last time that four songs by solo women, with no credited features, ruled the top four positions on the Hot 100?

Thank you,

William Bhagat


Hi William,

As noted in this week’s Hot 100 story, not only does Grande become the first soloist ever to rank at Nos. 1, 2 and 3 simultaneously (and only the second act overall after The Beatles), but, thanks to Grande and Halsey, women in lead roles have spent seven weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100 in 2019, one week shy of all of last year’s total.

If “7 Rings” holds on for a fifth total week on top this coming week, women will match 2018’s sum … on the first chart dated in March, leaving almost a full 10 months to surpass last year’s mark. In 2017, women as lead acts spent six weeks at No. 1. In 2016, the count was 16 weeks, by Adele, Rihanna and Sia.

As for the top four belonging entirely to women with no featured artists, the latest Hot 100 sports the first all-female top four in over four years, since women blocked men from the region for 10 straight weeks from Sept. 6 through Nov. 8, 2014. In the last of those frames, the top four looked like this:

1, “All About That Bass,” Meghan Trainor
2, “Shake It Off,” Taylor Swift
3, “Habits (Stay High),” Tove Lo
4, “Bang Bang,” Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj

So, Grande also played into the last such instance of women ruling Nos. 1 through 4 on the Hot 100.

If we want to get more technical (and since this is “Ask Billboard,” we usually do), since Grande, Jessie J and Minaj teamed up on “Bang Bang,” when was the last time the Hot 100’s top four featured only one female soloist each in every spot before this week? We have to go back almost exactly seven years. On the Hot 100 dated March 3, 2012, the top four saw one woman in each rank in the top four … as well as women in each spot throughout the top nine:

1, “Part of Me,” Katy Perry
2, “Set Fire to the Rain,” Adele
3, “I Will Always Love You,” Whitney Houston
4, “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” Kelly Clarkson
5, “Rolling in the Deep,” Adele
6, “We Are Young,” fun. feat. Janelle Monae
7, “Someone Like You,” Adele
8, “We Found Love,” Rihanna feat. Calvin Harris
9, “Starships,” Nicki Minaj


Hi Gary,

The lyrics to Ariana Grande’s “7 Rings” actually lack the term … “seven rings.” That’s another Hot 100 No. 1 to add to the list of songs that don’t include their titles in their lyrics, like, for example, Mary J. Blige’s “Family Affair.”

Plus, I like that Grande’s tune “NASA,” which debuts at No. 17, includes the line, “This is one giant leap for womankind.” Good for Ariana and her peeps for that lyric and recording as we approach the 50th anniversary of the moon landing in July 1969.

God is a woman,

Pablo Nelson
Oakland, California

Hi Pablo,

That reminds me of how George Michael‘s “One More Try” almost made the club of Hot 100 No. 1s that don’t include their titles … until the song ends with the lyric at last, nearly six minutes in. Fellow Faith single (and No. 5 Hot 100 hit) “Kissing a Fool” does nearly the same, saving its title for its last two lines.

As for “NASA,” I wouldn’t be surprised if R.E.M.‘s “Man on the Moon” gets extra play in July. (Not to be confused with Grande’s song from Sweetener, and a Hot 100 hit in September, “R.E.M.”)


Hi Gary,

Can you please let us know Shawn Mendes‘ career sales and streams?


Ayush K.

Hi Ayush,

For Mendes’ totals, just look under there. (Yes, I just tried to make you say underwear.)

Here is a rundown of Mendes’ U.S. sales and streams, through Feb. 21, according to Nielsen Music.


Album Sales
Handwritten, 466,000; Illuminate,  376,000; Shawn Mendes, 281,000; The Shawn Mendes EP, 105,000; MTV Unplugged, 8,000; Live at Madison Square Garden, 8,000

Top-Selling Songs
“Stitches,” 2.7 million; “Treat You Better,” 1.1 million; “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back,” 1.1 million; “Mercy,” 1.1 million; “I Know What You Did Last Summer” (with Camila Cabello), 807,000; “Life of the Party,” 750,000; “Something Big,” 558,000; “In My Blood,” 450,000; “Show You,” 164,000; “The Weight,” 150,000

Most-Streamed Songs (on-demand U.S. audio & video)
“Stitches,” 787 million; “Treat You Better,” 609 million; “There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back,” 561 million; “Mercy,” 398 million; “In My Blood,” 294 million; “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” 268 million; “Lost in Japan” (with Zedd), 182 million; “Life of the Party,” 149,683,014; “Something Big,” 121 million; “Youth,” 98 million

In November, Mendes became the inaugural artist of the year at Billboard‘s Live Music Awards, thanks to the success of his Illuminate World Tour and his new Shawn Mendes: The Tour, beginning March 7 in Amsterdam and scheduled to run through Dec. 21 in Mexico City.

In discussing his honor, he revealed that “In My Blood” is his favorite song to perform live. “I wrote it with Kings of Leon inspiration after seeing them live and being like, ‘This is what music is. This is live … drums … people are clapping … it’s this big chant, this big anthem,’ ” he said. “We do this thing at the end where we get the whole crowd singing the big anthem chant, and it’s just unbeatable. I’ve decided: I’m not gonna beat that feeling.”