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Pentatonix Marches Onto Hot 100 With ‘Little Drummer Boy’

Thanks to strong streaming and sales, the song debuts at No. 13, instantly ranking as one of the highest-charting holiday hits of all-time. It also tops the Holiday 100.

A new version of a holiday favorite by a cappella quintet Pentatonix quickly beats a path up multiple Billboard charts. The act’s take on “Little Drummer Boy” soars 23-1 on the Holiday 100 songs chart and enters Streaming Songs at No. 2 and the Billboard Hot 100 at No. 13.

The quintet (Scott Hoying, Kirstie Maldonado, Mitch Grassi, Avi Kaplan and Kevin Olusola) kicked off the holiday season with a gift for its 3 million followers: it debuted its video rendition of the Christmas classic on YouTube on Nov. 25. Now with a full week of streams, the song begins on the Streaming Songs chart at No. 2 with 6.4 million U.S. streams, according to Nielsen BDS. For the chart week, only Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” was streamed more in the U.S. (8 million).

“Drummer” simultaneously debuts at No. 19 on the Digital Songs chart with a 152% increase to 51,000 downloads sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

The activity for “Drummer” leads to a 23-1 coronation for the song on the seasonal Holiday 100 chart, where it dethrones perennial leader “All I Want for Christmas Is You” by Mariah Carey. “Want” has topped the Holiday 100 in all but two of the 12 weeks of the chart’s existence; the list launched utilizing the Hot 100-styled sales/airplay/streaming-based methodology in December 2011). Last season, Justin Bieber’s “Mistletoe” snuck in for a week atop the Holiday 100.

As “Drummer” concurrently jingles onto the Hot 100 at No. 13, it instantly enters a tie as the fourth-highest-peaking holiday hit in the chart’s entire 55-year history. Here’s an updated look at the 10 top-charting carols in the Hot 100’s archives:
Peak, Title, Artist, Year(s)
No. 1 (four weeks), “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late),” the Chipmunks with David Seville, 1958-59
No. 7, “This One’s for the Children,” New Kids on the Block, 1989-90
No. 11, “Mistletoe,” Justin Bieber, 2011
No. 13 (to date), “Little Drummer Boy,” Pentatonix, 2013
No. 13, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?,” Band-Aid, 1984-85
No. 13, “The Little Drummer Boy,” the Harry Simeone Chorale, 1958-59
No. 14, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” Brenda Lee, 1960
No. 15, “Pretty Paper,” Roy Orbison, 1963-64
No. 18, “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire),” Christina Aguilera, 1999-2000
No. 18, “Please Come Home for Christmas,” Eagles, 1978-79

“Drummer” appears on Pentatonix’s holiday EP “PTXmas,” which surges into the Billboard 200’s top 10 (29-7) as the Greatest Gainer for the chart’s largest unit increase (up 119% to 60,000 sold). Originally released a year ago, the set now sports two new tracks, including “Drummer.”

Pentatonix’s profile has received a substantial lift due to several TV appearances in recent weeks. The group appeared on a special airing of Disney Channel’s original movie “Teen Beach Movie” on Nov. 17. This past week, it sang on “Conan” and “The Queen Latifah Show.”