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Chart Beat Thursday: B.o.B, Bobby & Billboard

A rookie rapper, the a capella vet who gave us "Don't Worry, Be Happy" and stars of the Billboard Latin Music Awards make for a busy week.

NOTHING BEATS ‘NOTHIN’ ‘: As previously reported, B.o.B ascends 2-1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Nothin’ On You,” featuring Bruno Mars.

The 21-year-old B.o.B, born Bobby Ray Simmons, Jr., is the just the fifth male rapper to take a maiden Hot 100 entry to No. 1 as a lead artist.

Here is the select list of rookies who’ve reigned, four of whom have achieved the feat since 2007:

Artist, Title, Date Reached No. 1, Weeks at No. 1
B.o.B, “Nothin’ On You,” May 1, 2010, 1 week to date
Flo Rida, “Low,” Jan. 5, 2008, 10 weeks
Soulja Boy Tell’em, “Crank That (Soulja Boy),” Sept. 15, 2007, 7 weeks
Mims, “This Is Why I’m Hot,” March 10, 2007, 2 weeks
Vanilla Ice, “Ice Ice Baby,” Nov. 3, 1990, 1 week

(Not included in this list is Snow. Despite his debut hit “Informer” topping the Hot 100 – and Rap Songs – in 1993, he is widely considered a core dancehall reggae, not rap, artist. In his native Canada, Snow’s smash won the 1994 Best Reggae Recording Juno Award).

The success of the last male rapper to top the Hot 100 the first time out bodes well for B.o.B. Flo Rida’s “Low” was crowned the chart’s No. 1 song of 2008. Coincidentally, Flo Rida’s second Hot 100 leader, “Right Round,” was written by Bruno Mars, the guest artist on “Nothin’ On You.”

In a more unlikely connection, B.o.B shares a chart feat with two Scandinavian pop groups. (The word “pop” is a clue). He is the first act whose name is a palindrome to top the Hot 100 since A-Ha, the Norwegian band that led with “Take On Me” in 1985. The only other such act to reign was Sweden’s beloved Abba with “Dancing Queen” in 1977.

FOX ROCKS, PT. 1: After serving as mentor and performer on “American Idol” last week, Adam Lambert, the show’s 2009 runner-up, notches his first top 10 on the Hot 100, as “Whataya Want From Me” blasts 23-10 as the chart’s Digital Gainer.

With the song’s climb, at least one “American Idol” contestant from each of the program’s first eight seasons has now reached the Hot 100’s top 10.

Here is a look at all the show’s alumni to appear in the chart’s top tier, with their total number of top 10s to-date noted:

Season One (2002)

Kelly Clarkson, eight

Season Two (2003)
Ruben Studdard, two
Clay Aiken, two

Season Three (2004)
Fantasia, one

Season Four (2005)
Carrie Underwood, four
Bo Bice, one

Season Five (2006)
Taylor Hicks, one
Chris Daughtry, two (with Daughtry)

Season Six (2007)
Jordin Sparks, three

Season Seven (2008)
David Cook, one
David Archuleta, one

Season Eight (2009)
Adam Lambert, one

Last season’s champion, Kris Allen, just missed the Hot 100’s top 10 with his victory single “No Boundaries,” which debuted and peaked at No. 11. “Live Like We’re Dying,” the first single from his self-titled debut album, reached No. 18 on the Hot 100. It rose to No. 3 on Adult Pop Songs, No. 10 on Pop Songs and this week charges 14-11 on Adult Contemporary.

FOX ROCKS, PT. 2: Fox’s one-two musical punch of “American Idol” and “Glee” further impacts this week’s Hot 100, as the “Glee” cast bows with four debuts. Since it first appeared with “Don’t Stop Believin’ ” and “Rehab” on the June 6, 2009, chart, the troupe has inked 29 Hot 100 entries. That’s almost twice as many as the runner-up, Lil Wayne, in that span, who’s made 16 Hot 100 appearances since then.

Below is a comparison of the Hot 100 performances of the four debuting “Glee” covers and their originals, as well as any previous charted versions. The new remakes were unveiled on the “Glee” season premiere last Tuesday (April 13).

“Gives You Hell”
No. 4, the All-American Rejects, 2009
No. 32, Glee Cast, 2010

No. 1 (two weeks), Lionel Richie, 1984
No. 73, David Cook, 2008
No. 35, Glee Cast, 2010

“Hello Goodbye”
No. 1 (three weeks), the Beatles, 1967
No. 49, Glee Cast, 2010

“Hello, I Love You”
No. 1 (two weeks), the Doors, 1968
No. 66, Glee Cast, 2010

MERCHANT’S SALES: New at No. 17 with “Leave Your Sleep,” Natalie Merchant celebrates her highest rank on the Billboard 200 since “Ophelia” reached No. 8 in 1998. The former 10,000 Maniacs frontwoman concurrently bows at No. 1 on Folk Albums, marking her first leader on a Billboard chart since “Kind & Generous” topped the Triple A radio airplay list, also in 1998.

An abbreviated version of the new release, entitled “Selections from the Album Leave Your Sleep,” starts on the Billboard 200 at No. 101 and Folk Albums at No. 3.

VOICES CARRY: Two of music’s most successful a cappella acts enjoy milestone weeks.

With a 2-1 lift on Top Contemporary Jazz Albums, Bobby McFerrin‘s first collection in eight years, “VOCAbuLarieS,” becomes his first No. 1 on a Billboard chart since 1992, when “Hush” spent 17 weeks atop Top Classical Crossover Albums. The new release is McFerrin’s first champ on Top Contemporary Jazz Albums since “Simple Pleasures” in 1988.

On the Billboard 200, Straight No Chaser‘s “With a Twist” enters at No. 29, its highest career ranking. The group’s “Christmas Cheers” peaked at No. 38 in December.

CHART BEAT BITS: Lady Gaga logs her seventh top 40 hit on the Hot 100, as “Alejandro” flies 50-28. She continues gunning for a record-setting seventh No. 1 on Pop Songs, where her current single zips 26-21 as the chart’s Greatest Gainer. Reigning on the latter chart with her first six hits, Lady Gaga is tied with Mariah Carey and Beyonce for most leaders in the Pop Songs survey’s 17-year history …

Two legendary names return to the Billboard 200. Jeff Beck‘s “Emotion & Commotion” debuts at No. 11, marking his second-best rank in a chart history that dates to 1968. In 1975, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer reached No. 4 with “Blow By Blow.” At No. 111, the late Muddy Waters appears on the Billboard 200 for the first time since 1981, as “The Father of Chicago Blues” starts at No. 133. The set becomes Waters’ first No. 1 on Blues Albums …

Notching a 15th week at No. 1, Aventura‘s “Dile Al Amor” ties for longest reign in the Tropical Songs chart’s almost 16-year history as a Nielsen BDS-based airplay list. Monchy & Alexandra’s “Perdidos” led for 15 weeks in 2004-05 …

After consumers celebrated Record Store Day April 17, 34 titles enter the 50-position Hot Singles Sales chart. Among those debuting are such veteran acts dear to collectors as the Rolling Stones, Neil Young and the Doors …

Yay, us! The Hot Shot Debut at No. 11 on Latin Albums is entitled “Billboard Latin Music Awards: Finalists 2010.” The set becomes the first Billboard-branded title to grace a Billboard survey since “Billboard #1s: Classic Country” peaked at No. 34 on Country Albums and No. 161 on the Billboard 200 in 2006.