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‘Five’ To 1: Scotty McCreery Scores First Country Airplay Leader

Singer-songwriter Scotty McCreery notches his first No. 1, among three top 10s, on Billboard's Country Airplay chart, as ballad "Five More Minutes" (Triple Tigers) ascends 3-1 in its 40th week on the…

Singer-songwriter Scotty McCreery notches his first No. 1, among three top 10s, on Billboard‘s Country Airplay chart, as ballad “Five More Minutes” (Triple Tigers) ascends 3-1 in its 40th week on the tally (dated March 4), gaining by 10 percent to 40.2 million audience impressions in the week ending Feb. 25, according to Nielsen Music. On the Hot Country Songs chart, which blends airplay, streaming and sales data, “Five” holds at its No. 4 high.

“I’d just lost my granddaddy Bill,” McCreery recently told Billboard (for an upcoming episode of the Billboard Chart Beat Podcast) of the song, which he co-wrote with Frank Rogers and Monty Criswell. “He was my guy, a cool cat, eighty-five years old, doing cannonballs in the backyard pool. He was awesome, I loved him. Monty was the one who said, ‘It’s just like you wanted five more minutes with the guy.’ I was like, ‘That’s the song I’m going to write today.’ “

The 24-year-old McCreery, from Garner, N.C., won the 10th season of American Idol, donning the crown on May 25, 2011. Notably, the runner-up that season was Lauren Alaina, who achieved her first Country Airplay No. 1 when “Road Less Traveled” topped the chart dated April 22, 2017. She followed “Road” (her sixth entry on the list) with her second trip to No. 1, as featured on Kane Brown‘s “What Ifs” (Oct. 28).

“Five” is McCreery’s ninth charted Country Airplay title. He debuted on the list in 2011 with the No. 15-peaking “I Love You This Big” and followed with “The Trouble With Girls” and “Water Tower Town,” which peaked at Nos. 17 and 38, respectively, in 2012. McCreery’s next two proper singles became his first two top 10s, both in 2014: “See You Tonight” (No. 8) and “Feelin’ It” (No. 10). One additional single, “Southern Belle,” McCreery’s last for his original label (Interscope/Mercury), peaked at No. 45 in 2016.

“Five” is the lead single from McCreery’s third studio full-length, Seasons Change (March 16), his first for Triple Tigers. The 11-song set was produced by Rogers and Aaron Eshuis and finds all songs co-written by McCreery.

McCreery has earned two No. 1s on the Top Country Albums chart. His first set after winning Idol, Clear as Day, opened atop the ranking dated Oct. 22, 2011 (with 197,000 sold), and spent six weeks at No. 1. His follow-up, See You Tonight, arrived atop the list dated Nov. 2, 2013 (52,000), and led for one week. In between, he jingled to No. 2 with Christmas With Scotty McCreery, (Nov. 3, 2012; 41,000 sold).

REXHA TIES ‘GIRL’ RECORD Hot Country Songs is led for a 13th week by Bebe Rexha and Florida Georgia Line‘s pop/country crossover hit “Meant to Be” (Warner Bros./Big Machine Label Group). On Country Airplay, the collaboration hits a new high, rising 16-15, up 24 percent to 17.1 million in audience.

When it logged its 11th week at No. 1, the track passed Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” in 2012 and 2013 for the most weeks atop Hot Country Songs for a title by a solo female in the chart’s 59-year history. Now with its 13th week in charge, “Meant” matches Little Big Town‘s “Girl Crush” (2015) for the most weeks at No. 1 for a song featuring lead female vocals.

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GOOD’ NEWS Luke Bryan banks his 25th Hot Country Songs top 10, and 24th in succession (counting singles promoted to country radio and excluding holiday fare), as “Most People Are Good” (Capitol Nashville) rises 12-10 in its ninth week on the list.

Starting with 2008’s No. 10-peaking “Country Man,” Bryan’s second Country Airplay top 10, all of his official singles have reached the top tier. He enjoys the third-longest active top 10 streak, after Keith Urban (38) and Carrie Underwood (26).

‘END’ BEGINS Cole Swindell boasts the top debut on Country Airplay, as “Break Up in the End” (Warner Bros./Warner Music Nashville) launches at No. 28 with 6.8 million first-week audience impressions.

The first single from Swindell’s upcoming album marks his second-highest arrival on Country Airplay; “You Should Be Here” started at No. 26 on Jan. 2, 2016, and led for three weeks that April.