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Ask Billboard: Iggy Azalea, Ariana Grande, Sam Smith & Charli XCX Are Seeing Double

The four acts each boast multiple top 20 hits this week. Do they set a record? Plus, Selena (Gomez) & Celine's top hits, MAGIC!'s latest trick and more.

As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, as well as general music musings, to Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S. Or, Tweet questions to Gary Trust: @gthot20


Hi Gary,

On this week’s Billboard Hot 100 (dated Aug. 23), it jumps out at me that four acts each have at least two hits in the top 20.

As “Fancy” by Iggy Azalea, featuring Charli XCX, holds at No. 3, “Problem” by Ariana Grande, featuring Azalea, moves 5-6. That means that Azalea still has (her first) two hits in the Hot 100’s upper tier. As Charli XCX rises 11-10 with her own hit “Boom Clap,” she herself doubles up in the top 10.

Moreover, as “Bang Bang” by Jessie J, Grande and Nicki Minaj slips 6-9, Grande also doubles up in the top 10. Plus, Grande keeps at No. 18 with “Break Free,” while Azalea passes her with a 19-15 jump for “Black Widow,” featuring Rita Ora. So, Grande and Azalea both triple up in the top 20.

Unluckily for Sam Smith, Charli XCX pushes Disclosure’s “Latch,” featuring his vocals, 10-11. Thus, Smith just misses out on keeping his double-top 10 status for another week. But, hey, he still has two songs in the top 11!

Therefore, my question: Four artists each have multiple top 10 hits simultaneously in the Hot 100’s top 20 … is that unprecedented?

I’ll also note that these artists are all fairly new to the music scene, yet look at what they’re accomplishing.

All the best,

Ellis O’Connell
The Isle of Wight, England (a foreign follower!)

Hi Ellis,

Thanks for following the U.S. charts from afar! As several record label executives and radio programmers pointed out in our look at how so many hits by non-U.S. acts are currently ruling the Hot 100’s upper ranks, the digital age has made foreign lands feel much closer.

As for the stat, Azalea, Grande, Charli XCX and Smith each boast at least two songs in the Hot 100’s top 20 at the same time. Is it a record that four acts so double up at once?

No. In fact (and I didn’t realize until researching), it’s happened 12 times already this year, including four weeks featuring the quartet. Most recently before those four acts, Azalea and Smith shared the honor with Jason Derulo and Katy Perry (July 5). And, the week of June 7, five artists each doubled up in the top 20: Azalea, Derulo, Perry, Michael Jackson and Justin Timberlake.

Most obviously, the proliferation of featured acts has made such simultaneous bunch-ups fairly common. Still, on April 13, 2013, five artists each charted two titles in the top 20, with four in lead roles: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, Bruno Mars, Rihanna and Timberlake.

In researching the Hot 100’s top 20 week-by-week beginning with its launch on Aug. 4, 1958, such groupings were extremely rare early on. As many as three acts each held two simultaneous top 20 ranks on Dec. 6 and 13, 1958: Tommy Edwards, Rick Nelson and Elvis Presley (Dec. 6 and 13, 1958). Even then, a caveat: two of those three did so via songs on the A and B sides of the same 45. (Edwards was the only artist of the three to chart with songs on separate single releases.)

For the next 35 years, however, no other trio of acts sent two titles apiece into the top 20 at the same time. The drought ended on Nov. 13, 1993, thanks to Toni Braxton (“Breathe Again,” “Another Sad Love Song”), Mariah Carey (“Dreamlover,” “Hero”) and Janet Jackson (“Again,” “If”). On Feb. 12, 1994, a new record was born when five acts did so: Carey, Jackson, Bryan Adams, Ace of Base and Salt-N-Pepa, and with all sporting lead credit. (Jackson edged into the group thanks to a 22-20 lift that week for “Because of Love,” joining “Again,” which fell 8-17.)

Still, five isn’t a record. Neither is six, or seven. On the chart dated Jan. 15, 2005, in immense eight acts each placed two songs in the Hot 100’s top 20: 50 Cent, Ashanti, Ciara, Destiny’s Child, Lil Jon, Ludacris, T.I. and Usher. (None were at No. 1, however: that prestige belonged to Mario with “Let Me Love You.”)

While an act, like Azalea, Charli XCX, Smith or new Billboard cover artist Grande, placing multiple songs in the top 20 at once is ultimately a sign of success, it could potentially spur a problem at radio. As stations like to separate songs by the same artists to avoid repetition, too much of any act could lead to a station backing off plays. Mostly, though, a station will gladly bend the rules if audience demand clearly exists. (The Beatles, after all, monopolized the Hot 100’s entire top five on April 4, 1964.)

“There is no issue with more Ariana on Z100,” WHTZ (Z100) New York program director Sharon Dastur says of spinning “Problem,” “Bang Bang” and “Break Free.” “We have all three songs in rotation.

“A hit is a hit.”


Dear Gary,

Abracadabra! Those prestidigitators from the Great White North have pulled another rabbit out of their hats, reaching yet another milestone. With its fifth week at No. 1, “Rude” has become the first song by a Canadian group to log five weeks atop the Hot 100, breaking the mark of four set by Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me.” In fact, MAGIC! now has the most career weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100 of any Canadian group.

All told, 11 songs by nine Canadian artists have stayed at No. 1 on the Hot 100 for at least five weeks:

“Theme from ‘A Summer Place’,” Percy Faith (1960), 9 weeks
“(Everything I Do) I Do It for You,” Bryan Adams (1991), 7 weeks
“Informer,” Snow (1993), 7 weeks
“Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman,” Adams (1995), 5 weeks
“Because You Loved Me,” Celine Dion (1996), 6 weeks
“I’m Your Angel,” R. Kelly & Dion (1998-99), 6 weeks
“Bad Day,” Daniel Powter (2006), 5 weeks
“Promiscuous,” Nelly Furtado feat. Timbaland (2006), 6 weeks

“Call Me Maybe,” Carly Rae Jepsen (2012), 9 weeks
“Blurred Lines,” Robin Thicke feat. Pharrell + T.I. (2013), 12 weeks
“Rude,” MAGIC! (2014), 5 weeks and counting

And, for the coup de grace, MAGIC! is only the fourth Canadian act, joining Snow, Powter and Jepsen to score at least a five-week No. 1 with its Hot 100 debut.
Jeff Lerner
Long Island, New York

Thanks Jeff,

Yet more to the group’s magical ride atop the Hot 100.

And, how fitting (at least stereotypically, weather-wise) that two acts from Canada are named … Snow … and  … Powter.


@gthot20 Hi Gary, can you please update sales of Selena Gomez (& the Scene) on #AskBB this week? She won Ultimate Choice at the Teen Choice Awards.

Rei Teen ?@chokitossdd

Gomez was gracious in accepting her honor (and accompanying surfboard) last Sunday (Aug. 10). “I want to thank my mom so much,” she said. “She’s the greatest person in the world. I want all of you to love your mom.”

In honor of her win, let’s look at the U.S. sales of her albums, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and her top-selling songs.

920,000, Kiss and Tell (2009)
810,000, A Year Without Rain (2010)
690,000, When the Sun Goes Down (2011)
382,000, Stars Dance (2013)

Top-Selling Songs:
2,611,000, “Love You Like a Love Song”

2,421,000, “Come & Get It”
2,032,000, “Who Says”
2,006,000, “Naturally”
1,031,000, “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know”
1,002,000, “A Year Without Rain”

And, from Selena … to Celine (and back to Canada …)


Hi Gary,

Sad news that Celine Dion will be putting her career on-hold indefinitely to help care for her husband. I really hope that Rene Angelil will get better and that Celine will come back to music soon.
In the meantime, could we please get a look at her most successful songs?
Thanks in advance,

Krzysztof Gorecki
Lublin, Poland

Hi Krzysztof,

As Billboard reported on Wednesday (Aug. 13), Dion is canceling her upcoming fall tour of Asia and her Las Vegas residency at Caesars Palace until further notice. Angelil, her husband and manager, underwent surgery in December to remove a cancerous tumor. “I want to devote every ounce of my strength and energy to my husband’s healing, and, to do so, it’s important for me to dedicate this time to him and to our children,” Dion says. “I also want to apologize to my fans everywhere, for inconveniencing them. I thank them so much for their love and support.”

In honor of Dion putting what’s most important first, let’s celebrate her 10 biggest Billboard Hot 100 hits:

10, “Beauty and the Beast” (Dion and Peabo Bryson) (No. 9, 1992)
9, “All By Myself” (No. 4, 1997)
8, “If You Asked Me To” (No. 4, 1992)
7, “That’s the Way It Is” (No. 6, 2000)
6, “My Heart Will Go On” (No. 1, two weeks, 1998)
5, “Where Does My Heart Beat Now” (No. 4, 1991)
4, “I’m Your Angel” (R. Kelly & Dion) (No. 1, six weeks, 1998-99)
3, “The Power of Love” (No. 1, four weeks, 1994)
2, “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” (No. 2, 1996)

… and …

1, “Because You Loved Me” (No. 1, six weeks, 1996)

This list is ranked based on each title’s performance on the Billboard Hot 100 from its inception on Aug. 4, 1958. Songs are ranked based on an inverse point system, with weeks at No. 1 earning the greatest value and weeks at No. 100 earning the least. To ensure equitable representation of the biggest hits across multiple decades, time frames have been weighted to account for fluctuating chart turnover rates due to different methodologies utilized in the chart’s history.


So … what are your favorite songs this week?

Here are a couple reader playlist samples:

Ghost @EllaHenderson, Hideaway @Kiesza, Habits @iamtovelo, I Got U @DukeDumont, All About That Bass @Meghan_Trainor

Brian Brostek ?@BOSBrian02368

All About That Bass, Break Free, Black Widow and This Is How We Do [by Katy Perry]. Also the UK #1 hits Crazy Stupid Love [by Cheryl Cole feat. Tinie Tempah] & Ghost

Mudursun ?@mudursun

Ah, two votes for Ella Henderson’s “Ghost,” a recent No. 1 in her home country of England. As noted in Billboard‘s Tomorrow’s Hits feature in June, OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder co-wrote her debut single. Henderson competed on the British edition of The X Factor in 2012 and, following her first performance, she received quite an endorsement: “Absolutely incredible! I LOVE her!!,” Tweeted Adele.

Get ready for “Ghost” to begin making the U.S. it haunt: the song goes for airplay at mainstream and adult top 40 radio next week.

And, my favorite song this week? One that’s been out for more than a year, although I finally first heard it after coming back from vacation: Camera Obscura’s “Break It to You Gently.” While shopping for camping stoves, my brother, Michael, heard it over the in-store speakers. After making me aware of it (and others by the Scottish band) … I’ve become obsessed. Not only have I listened to the melodic, 10,000 Maniacs-reminiscent track probably 50 times in the past week, its video is one of the most touching pieces of art I’ve ever seen, as its unlikely star searches for that most basic need: companionship.

As one YouTube commenter summed up perfectly, “You know it’s a good video when I find myself feeling emotional for a push cart.”

(Exactly how obsessed have I become with this song? On my way in and out of Grand Central last week, I was actively looking for carts. I didn’t hug any … but I did kind of want to …)