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Chart Beat Thursday: “Glee” Cast, Andrea Bocelli, Neil Diamond

While Andrea Bocelli awaits his shot at the Billboard 200 summit, the "Glee" cast earns an honor not attained on the Hot 100 in 45 years.

‘TIS THE ‘SEASON’: As the students go on winter break until their return to prime time in April, the soundtrack “Glee: Season One: The Music: Volume 2” starts at No. 3 on the Billboard 200. The first edition of the show’s covers opened at No. 4 last month.

The “Glee” ensemble makes its biggest headlines, however, on the Billboard Hot 100, as four more of its remakes debut, led by “My Life Would Suck Without You” at No. 51.

Having spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Hot 100 earlier this year by Kelly Clarkson, the song is the first leader to reappear on the list as a cover in the same year since Bo Bice debuted with “Inside Your Heaven” a week after Carrie Underwood‘s version topped the Hot 100 in July 2005.

The four new entries grant the “Glee” cast the honor of most Hot 100 charted titles this year (25), ahead of runner-up Lil Wayne (22). (With current charts dated Dec. 26, this is the last Billboard chart week of 2009).

How historic has the “Glee” cast’s run been this year? Its 25 placements on the Hot 100 in 2009 are the second-most by any act in a year in the chart’s 51-year history. The only act with more? the Beatles, who stormed the chart with 31 songs amidst Beatlemania in 1964.

A ‘CHRISTMAS’ 2 REMEMBER: While Susan Boyle‘s “I Dreamed a Dream” becomes just the second album this year to log at least three weeks atop the Billboard 200 – Taylor Swift‘s “Fearless” reigned for nine weeks, following two at the end of 2008 – Andrea Bocelli‘s “My Christmas” holds at No. 2 for a fifth frame.

Should Bocelli’s seasonal set not reach the summit, it would become the 11th album in the last 25 years to spend five or more weeks peaking in the runner-up position.

Here is a look at the releases to register the longest stays at a No. 2 peak on the Billboard 200 in that span:

11 weeks, Kenny G, “Breathless,” 1993
10 weeks, Wilson Phillips, “Wilson Phillips,” 1990
10 weeks, Whitesnake, “Whitesnake,” 1987
7 weeks, C+C Music Factory, “Gonna Make You Sweat,” 1991
6 weeks, Sting, “Dream of the Blue Turtles,” 1985
6 weeks, Culture Club, “Colour By Numbers,” 1984
5 weeks, Andrea Bocelli, “My Christmas,” 2009
5 weeks, Various Artists, “Now 8,” 2001
5 weeks, Soundtrack, “Forrest Gump,” 1994
5 weeks, Rod Stewart, “Unplugged…And Seated,” 1993
5 weeks, Van Halen, “1984,” 1984

‘CHERRY’ BLOSSOMS: The iconic Neil Diamond returns to the top 10 on the Adult Contemporary chart after 20 years, as “Cherry Cherry Christmas” charges 13-8.

Diamond had last appeared in the top 10 when “The Best Years of Our Lives” peaked at No. 7 on the chart dated June 24, 1989.

With the new song’s rise, Diamond moves within two of Elton John‘s mark for most top 10s in the chart’s 48-year history. Here is a rundown of the artists with the most top 10 visits:

39, Elton John
37, Neil Diamond
35, Barbra Streisand
31, Elvis Presley
29, Dionne Warwick

Diamond is the only artist to notch a top 20 entry in each decade since the Adult Contemporary chart launched in 1961, beginning with his first charted title, the No. 3-peaking “Sweet Caroline (Good Times Never Seemed So Good),” in 1969.

Trey Songz earns his first No. 1 on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, as “I Invented Sex” ascends 2-1. The singer/songwriter/producer previously rose as high as No. 2 with “Can’t Help But Wait” in 2007.

Songz concurrently nets his highest debut on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, as “Neighbors Know My Name” moves in at No. 59.

On R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, Chris Brown inks his second No. 1, as his third release, “Graffiti,” arrives at the summit. The album returns Brown to the penthouse for the first time since his self-titled debut bowed on top in December 2005. His sophomore set, “Exclusive,” debuted and peaked at No. 2 in November 2007.

On the Billboard 200, “Graffiti” starts at No. 7. “Chris Brown” peaked at No. 2 on the survey, and “Exclusive” peaked at No. 4.

POP RADIO STUCK ON ‘REPLAY’: Iyaz, the British Virgin Islands native discovered on MySpace by Sean Kingston, surges 4-1 on Pop Songs.

The singer is the 11th male artist to top the chart with a debut entry dating to the chart’s 1992 inception. With Jay Sean and Jason DeRulo having also taken their introductory tracks to No. 1, 2009 marks the first year that three solo males have led with maiden chart entries.

Here are the male soloists to conquer the chart on their first tries:

Shawn Mullins, “Lullaby,” 1998
Eagle Eye Cherry, “Save Tonight,” 1998
Ricky Martin, “Livin’ La Vida Loca,” 1999
Lou Bega, “Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit Of …),” 2000
Gavin DeGraw, “I Don’t Want to Be,” 2005
Chris Brown, “Run It!,” 2005
Ne-Yo, “So Sick,” 2006
Flo Rida, “Low,” 2008
Jay Sean (featuring Lil Wayne), “Down,” 2009
Jason DeRulo, “Whatcha Say,” 2009
Iyaz, “Replay,” 2009

CHART BEAT BITS: After peaking as high as No. 4 on Latin Songs with its first 32 chart entries, Banda El Recodo has now ruled with its last two. The group lifts 2-1 with “Me Gusta Todo De Ti.” Its “Te Presumo” reigned for six weeks beginning in February. On Latin Albums, Alejandro Fernandez scores three simultaneous debuts in the top 10, a first in the chart’s 16-year archives. Fernandez’s pop set, “Dos Mundos: Evolucion,” opens at No. 2, his regional Mexican album, “Dos Mundos: Tradicion,” at No. 3 and a combination of the releases, “Dos Mundos,” at No. 10 …

Billboard premiered the 30-position Jazz Songs chart in October 2005, and, until this week, the highest debut was a No. 16 start for Diana Krall’s “Jingle Bells” in 2006. This week, Sade blasts to a record launch on the tally, as “Soldier of Love” soars in at No. 5. The venerable group previewed its first album in almost a decade in New York City earlier this week …

A modern rock classic returns to Alternative Songs, as Anberlin‘s cover of “True Faith” debuts at No. 39. New Order‘s original reached No. 32 on the Hot 100 exactly 22 years ago this week. The remake appears on the new deluxe edition of Anberlin’s album “New Surrender” …

Billie Myers enjoyed a No. 15 peak on the Hot 100 with the pop/rock hit “Kiss the Rain” in 1998. After her follow-up, “Tell Me,” dented Pop Songs and Adult Pop Songs later that year, the British singer/songwriter remained absent from Billboard’s charts until 2007, when “It’s Just Sex” climbed to No. 8 on Dance/Club Play Songs. This week, Myers again graces the lattermost survey, as “Wonderful” debuts at No. 47. The song introduces her third album, “Tea & Sympathy” …

What would 2009 be without an ode to Billboard’s top artist of the year? Evan Taubenfeld enters Country Songs at No. 59 with “Merry Swiftmas (Even Though I Celebrate Chanukah).” The former Avril Lavigne guitarist puts his holiday wish list to music: “Santa, for my gift, please send me Taylor Swift / I know her and I are gonna fit, Taylor Taubenfeld has a ring to it.” While St. Nick has yet to confirm Taubenfeld’s request, Swift is flattered. Upon hearing the song, she recently Tweeted, “This made me smile 🙂 🙂 :).”