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Ask Billboard: Will Young, Miranda Lambert & More

Readers check in on the latest "American Idol" contestant send-off song and Miranda (not Adam) Lambert, who's scaling mulitple surveys.

Ask Billboard is updated every Friday. Submit your burning music questions to Gary Trust at askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.


Hi Gary,

Wouldn’t it be wise for Will Young‘s “Leave Right Now” to be released in the U.S. as a single, based on its usage on “American Idol” when contestants are voted out?

It’s an incredible song. It would be a huge hit.



Steve Barry
Brooklyn, New York

Hi Steve,

It may not be music to the ears of now-former “American Idol” finalists, but “Leave Right Now” is now being promoted to adult radio by Jive Records and receiving support.

The British-born Young could likely sympathize with those dismissed from the competition, at least partially. He’s gone through the stress of the original “Pop Idol” contest in 2002 but emerged as the franchise’s first champion. The success of the series – which included judge Simon Cowell – spurred international spinoffs, including the U.S. version.

Early believers in “Leave Right Now” include KISC/Spokane, Wash., WJKK/Jackson, Miss. and WJXB/Knoxville, Tenn. With airplay last week on 10 stations, the song is bubbling under the Adult Contemporary chart.

Previous “American Idol” send-off songs have impacted Billboard charts. Carrie Underwood‘s remake of Motley Crue‘s “Home Sweet Home” reached No. 21 on the Billboard Hot 100 last year and has sold 352,000 downloads to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

In 2008, Ferras‘ “Hollywood’s Not America” rose to No. 16 on Adult Pop Songs. It has sold 366,000 downloads since its release.


Hi Gary,

I’ve noticed that Miranda Lambert‘s album “Revolution” is zooming back up the Billboard 200. Two weeks ago, it was No. 70, and now it’s in the top 30. Is this all because of the growing success of the album’s latest single, “The House That Built Me,” or are there other factors that may be affecting the album’s performance? I’m just not used to seeing non-crossover country singles push albums this way.

How are the overall sales for “Revolution?” I feel like the album must be close to going gold, which would mean all three of her albums have reached that platform. For an artist who hasn’t reached pop and adult fans the way Taylor Swift or Lady Antebellum has, that’s pretty impressive (and seems to speak to Lambert’s potential longevity).

I’d welcome any insights you have on her career.


Mark Blankenship
Brooklyn, New York

Hi Mark,

I think Miranda Lambert is one of the most talented songwriters and performers in country music today. Her recent No. 2 hit on Country Songs, “White Liar,” reminded me of the type of feisty, fun and melodic song that Dolly Parton has regularly taken to the chart’s upper reaches throughout her iconic career.

Billboard country chart manager Wade Jessen notes that the jump in sales for “Revolution” is due primarily to the momentum of Lambert’s current single, which surges 21-15 on Country Songs. The song wins Greatest Gainer honors, improving by 28% to 15.8 million audience impressions.

The track and album received an extra push when the video for “The House That Built Me” premiered last week on iTunes, CMT and GAC. The album was also sale-priced on iTunes for $7.99.

On the Billboard 200, “Revolution” jumps 53-30 with the Pacesetter tag for the chart’s greatest weekly percentage increase (12,000, up 9%). Since its release last fall, the set has sold 489,000 copies. The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), which measures sales by shipments, not point-of-sale purchases, has certified the album gold, and more quickly than either of her first two efforts, according to Lambert’s website.

Blake Shelton‘s girlfriend is one of just four acts since Nielsen SoundScan data began powering Country Albums in 1991 to bow at the chart’s summit with their first three entries. All members of the elite club are women: LeAnn Rimes (1996-97), Gretchen Wilson (2004-07), Lambert and Carrie Underwood (2005-09 each).


Hi Gary,

Although I’m a fan of your “Chart Beat” and “Ask Billboard” columns, I enjoy the extra columns you write the most, like this week’s “Five (Almost) Write-Offs for Tax Day.” Your mention of Paula Abdul, who scored four No. 1 hits on the Hot 100 from her debut album, “Forever Your Girl” (“Straight Up,” the title cut, “Cold Hearted” and “Opposites Attract”) made me curious.

You wrote that she was “the first woman to notch four Hot 100 No. 1s from a debut effort.” If it’s possible, could you please tell me what man, what woman, and what group had the most No. 1s on the Hot 100 from a debut release, and who has had the most leaders on the Hot 100 from any album, debut or not? Thanks!


Tommy Marx
Greensboro, North Carolina

Hi Tommy,

Some of the more free-form “Chart Beat” columns are the most fun to write, so thanks for the kind words!

Only two artists in addition to Abdul have notched four Hot 100 No. 1s from a debut album. In 1987-88, already established as a hitmaker with Wham!, George Michael earned four Hot 100 toppers from “Faith”: the title cut, “Father Figure,” “One More Try” and “Monkey.”

In 1990-91, Mariah Carey sent “Vision of Love,” “Love Takes Time,” “Someday” and “I Don’t Wanna Cry” to the top of the Hot 100 from her self-titled debut set.

Among duos or groups, Milli Vanilli (1989) and Wilson Phillips (1990-91) are the only such acts to log three Hot 100 No. 1s from a debut album. The former act ruled with “Baby, Don’t Forget My Number,” “Girl, I’m Gonna Miss You” and “Blame It on the Rain.” The latter led with “Hold On,” “Release Me” and “You’re in Love.”

Counting all albums, Michael Jackson‘s “Bad” is the only release to produce as many as five Hot 100 No. 1s. The follow-up to “Thriller” sent “I Just Can’t Stop Loving You,” the title track, “The Way You Make Me Feel,” “Man in the Mirror” and “Dirty Diana” to the Hot 100’s top spot in 1987-88.