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Chart Beat: Eminem, Melinda Doolittle, Chris Sligh, Jennifer Hudson

Fred Bronson discusses Eminem, Melinda Doolittle, Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx and more!

‘BOTTLE’ ROCKETS TO NO. 1: The calendar year isn’t even two months old, but for the second time in 2009, a song has catapulted to No. 1 on The Billboard Hot 100 from the bottom 25 positions. Just two weeks after Kelly Clarkson set the all-time record by teleporting 97-1 with “My Life Would Suck Without You” (RCA), the trio of Eminem, Dr. Dre and 50 Cent rocket 78-1 with “Crack a Bottle” (Shady/Aftermath). That’s good enough for fourth place among the songs that have made the biggest jumps to No. 1.

Here are the 14 titles that have zoomed to No. 1 from below the top 30:

97-1: “My Life Would Suck Without You,” Kelly Clarkson (Feb. 7, 2009)
96-1: “Womanizer,” Britney Spears (Oct. 25, 2008)
80-1: “Live Your Life,” T.I. featuring Rihanna (Oct. 18, 2008)
78-1: “Crack a Bottle,” Eminem, Dr. Dre & 50 Cent (Feb. 21, 2009)
71-1: “Whatever You Like,” T.I. (Sept. 6, 2008)
64-1: “Makes Me Wonder,” Maroon 5 (Sept. 12, 2007)
53-1: “Take a Bow,” Rihanna (May 24, 2008)
52-1: “A Moment Like This,” Kelly Clarkson (Oct. 5, 2002)
51-1: “Love in This Club,” Usher featuring Young Jeezy (March 15, 2008)
42-1: “Give It to Me,” Timbaland featuring Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado (April 21, 2007)
41-1: “Umbrella,” Rihanna featuring Jay-Z (June 9, 2007)
34-1: “SOS,” Rihanna (May 13, 2006)
32-1: “This Is Why I’m Hot,” Mims (March 10, 2007)
31-1: “SexyBack,” Justin Timberlake (Sept. 9, 2006)

“Bottle” is not the first No. 1 for any of the three credited artists. Eminem had one previous chart-topper; “Lose Yourself” spent 12 weeks in the penthouse, starting in November 2002. Dr. Dre has two prior No. 1s in his column, both from 1996. He was featured on 2Pac’s “California Love” and BLACKstreet’s “No Diggity.” 50 Cent had three earlier No. 1s: “In Da Club” (nine weeks in 2003), “21 Questions” (four weeks in 2003) and “Candy Shop” (nine weeks in 2005).
The billing for “Crack a Bottle” means that all three men are considered lead artists. The last time three male artists teamed up as equals and scored a No. 1 hit was in September 2003 when Nelly, P. Diddy and Murphy Lee remained at the summit for four weeks with “Shake Ya Tailfeather.”

Sixth season “American Idol” winner Jordin Sparks has had a successful chart career since her May 2007 victory. Runner-up Blake Lewis made some chart appearances as well but many fans of the series have been waiting for third-place finalist to have her day in the sun. That day has come, as Melinda Doolittle debuts at No. 58 on The Billboard 200 with her first album, “Coming Back to You” (Hi Fi).

On Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, the release is new at No. 39. The album is doing even better on Top Independent Albums, where it opens at No. 3, and Top Internet Albums, where it bows at No. 13.

Aside from Sparks and Lewis, sixth season finalists Phil Stacey and Chris Sligh have also seen their names appear on Billboard surveys. That makes Doolittle the fifth finalist from her season to chart. She is the 39th “Idol” competitor to chart. Here is an updated breakdown of charted Idols, season by season:

Season one: (five)
Kelly Clarkson
Justin Guarini
Tamyra Gray
R.J. Helton
Jim Verraros

Season two: (four)
Ruben Studdard
Clay Aiken
Kimberley Locke
Josh Gracin

Season three: (seven)
Diana DeGarmo
Jasmine Trias
LaToya London
George Huff
John Stevens
Jennifer Hudson

Season four: (four)
Carrie Underwood
Bo Bice
Constantine Maroulis
Mario Vazquez

Season five: (nine)
Taylor Hicks
Katharine McPhee
Elliot Yamin
Chris Daughtry
Paris Bennett
Kellie Pickler
Ace Young
Bucky Covington

Season six: (five)
Jordin Sparks
Blake Lewis
Melinda Doolittle
Phil Stacey
Chris Sligh

Season seven: (four)
David Cook
David Archuleta
Jason Castro
Kristy Lee Cook

Just counting finalists gives you a total of 38 charted Idols, but the number increases to 39 when you add in non-finalist William Hung.

HELLO ‘GOODBYE’: Melinda Doolittle isn’t the only sixth season “American Idol” finalist having a great chart week. Chris Sligh had a big smile on his face when I bumped into him coming out of an elevator just a couple of hours before writing this column. The reason for Sligh’s happiness? His song “Here Comes Goodbye” (Lyric Street) is a top 20 hit for Rascal Flatts and could very well put Sligh on top of the Hot Country Songs chart in the next few weeks.

Sligh has already had success as an artist on Hot Christian Songs, where his “Empty Me” peaked at No. 9, and the Christian Adult Contemporary tally, where the same song went to No. 7.

And as long as we’re mentioning “American Idol” finalists, third season contestant Jennifer Hudson has a new entry on the Pop 100. Her rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” (Arista) debuts at No. 98.

This is the first time that the national anthem has appeared on the Pop 100. Should the song debut on the Hot 100, it will be the anthem’s third time around. Jose Feliciano charted at No. 50 in November 1968 and Whitney Houston peaked at No. 6 in October 2001.

Two actors advance to No. 1 on the Billboard charts this week. Jamie Foxx collects his first chart-topper as a lead artist on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, thanks to a 6-1 climb for “Blame It” (J), credited to Jamie Foxx featuring T-Pain.
Foxx previously led this list exactly five years ago this week with “Slow Jamz,” billed to Twista featuring Kanye West and Jamie Foxx, and again in September 2005 with “Gold Digger” by Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx.

The other actor picks up his first No. 1 on a music chart. Steve Martin strums 2-1 on Top Bluegrass Albums with “The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo” (40 Productions).
A third actor makes her first appearance on a Billboard music chart in 12 and a half years. Liza Minnelli’s “Liza’s at the Palace” (Hybrid) debuts at No. 3 on Top Cast Albums. The daughter of Judy Garland most recently charted in July 1996 with “Gently,” which peaked at No. 156 on The Billboard 200.

COVER STORY: Seal returns to the Adult Contemporary chart with a cover of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes’ 1972 single “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” which was also a 1989 hit for Simply Red.

Coincidentally, Simply Red is also on the Adult Contemporary chart this week, with a cover of “Go Now,” the first Hot 100 hit for the Moody Blues, back in 1965. The Moody Blues track was a cover of the original “Go Now” by American R&B singer Bessie Banks.

In other cover news, Seether’s rock take of Wham! featuring George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” enters The Billboard Hot 100 at No. 76.

‘GONE’ AT LAST: Justin Timberlake earns his 10th top 10 hit on the Hot 100, out of 16 chart entries under his own name. His latest top 10 hit is “Dead and Gone” (Grand Hustle), credited to T.I. featuring Justin Timberlake. The single climbs 11-9 in its 10th chart week.

“Dead and Gone” is the third consecutive top 10 hit for Timberlake since September 2007. All three place Timberlake in the “featured” position to three different lead artists. This hat trick of top 10 hits includes “Ayo Technology” by 50 Cent featuring Justin Timberlake and Timbaland (No. 5 in September 2007) and “4 Minutes” by Madonna featuring Justin Timberlake (No. 3 in April 2008).

Timberlake was last in the top 10 as a lead artist in June 2007, when his “Summer Love” surfed to No. 6.