'American Idol' on the Charts: 'Sparkle' Spikes, The Story of Mandisa's 'Morning' Glory
Also: Adam Lambert is one rung away from his highest peak position and five Idols move backward but there’s a silver lining...
'MORNING' HAS BROKEN: It’s amazing that no one thought of this earlier. On Monday, Mandisa will finally perform her Christian hit “Good Morning” on the most obvious platform: ABC’s Good Morning America. The dawn appearance comes eight months after the song made its Billboard chart debut, and is likely to send the track to a new peak position on at least two surveys.
“Good Morning,” a collaboration with Christian artist tobyMac, entered the Christian Songs chart the week ending Jan. 28 and peaked at No. 18 at the end of May. After a 26-week run, the song fell off the chart, but continued its run on the Christian Adult Contemporary tally. “Good Morning” didn’t debut on the AC chart until that same week in May when it peaked on the Christian Songs survey. It reached a peak position of No. 22 the week of Aug. 11 and has been bouncing up and down ever since. This week, it moves 24-23 to rank just one rung lower than its peak.
This is an airplay-only chart but it is very possible that radio will increase spins on the song after Mandisa’s GMA appearance. Even more likely, the song will experience a sales resurgence on the Christian Digital Songs chart, which measures sales of paid downloads. “Good Morning” debuted on this chart the week of April 23 and peaked at No. 4 the week of June 2. This week, it rebounds 10-7, in its 16th consecutive week in the top 10. It would not be a surprise if the TV booking provides a boost that powers the song to No. 1 on Christian Digital Songs.
If this does happen, Mandisa will be the third Idol competitor to rule this chart. Kris Allen was the first, when “Live Like We’re Dying” had a 24-week reign that began in April 2010. A year and one month later, Carrie Underwood’s live recording of “How Great Thou Art” spent one week on top.
“Good Morning” would be Mandisa’s 16th No. 1 on the Billboard charts, counting all national, domestic charts compiled by the magazine.
JUST DANCE: With Kelly Clarkson’s “Dark Side” plunging 1-8 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart (a typical fall from pole position on this tally), the highest-ranking Idol on this list is now Adam Lambert, whose “Never Close Our Eyes” improves 7-6, achieving a new peak position. This track from Lambert’s Trespassing album is now just one slot away from tying the season eight runner-up’s highest ranking on the Club Play chart. The single “For Your Entertainment,” the title track from Lambert’s debut album for 19/RCA, peaked at No. 5 the week of March 20, 2010.
It’s a different story on the Hot Dance Singles Sales chart, where Lambert has already earned his first No. 1 hit. “Whatya Want From Me” spent two weeks on top in May 2010.
BACKWARDS, FORWARDS, SQUARE AND ROUND: Like any specialty field, the music charts have their own jargon, and if you’re not in on the lingo, it’s easy to feel like you’re on the outside looking in. It’s not just the names of all the charts -- how is one supposed to know the difference between Mainstream Top 40, Adult Top 40, Urban Top 40 and Adult R&B? It’s also a term like “bullet.” What is a bullet and how can a song move down the chart and still be awarded a bullet -- or, as the term goes, a backward bullet?
Since the word “bullet” appears often in this column, let’s start there. Just moving up a chart isn’t enough to merit a bullet. That honor is reserved for titles that have a significant increase in sales and/or airplay over the previous week. For charts that are only based on airplay, such as Adult Contemporary, Hot Country Songs and Christian Songs, a bullet means that a song has registered a significant increase in monitored airplay over the previous week’s amount of play on the radio. For sales charts, such as Rock Digital Songs or The Billboard 200 album chart, a bullet indicates a significant increase in sales over the previous week.
Since all chart positions are relative to each other in a given week, it’s possible that so many titles could experience an increase in sales and/or airplay that a single or album could be forced down the chart while still having a larger aggregate sales and/or airplay total than the previous week.
That’s what happened this week to five Idols. Casey James’ “Crying on a Suitcase” got a bump in airplay but was forced down 33-34 on Hot Country Songs. Casey Abrams’ “Get Out” gets down on the Adult Contemporary chart, 25-26, but earns a bullet for increased airplay. Kelly Clarkson’s “Dark Side” descends 23-24 with a bullet on the Mainstream Top 40 chart, Michael Lynche’s “Who’s Gonna Love You More” collects a bullet despite a 28-29 fall on Adult R&B and Carrie Underwood’s “Good Girl” fades 29-31 on Country Digital Songs, where it is a former No. 1, but earns a bullet for increased sales over last week. Underwood also collects a backward bullet on The Billboard 200 album chart, where despite selling more copies this week than last week, Blown Away is forced down 16-17.
BITS AND PIECES: It may have moved down on The Billboard 200, but Carrie Underwood’s Blown Away storms 4-2 on Top Country Albums, just one place lower than its peak position when it led the list for five weeks. The Sparkle soundtrack improves on a couple of charts, no surprise now that the movie is in release. Featuring vocals by Jordin Sparks, the album jumps 8-3 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and 42-21 on The Billboard 200. Sparkle continues at No. 1 on the Top Soundtrack Albums chart, too. The first single from Sparkle, a duet by Whitney Houston and Sparks, breaks through to the top 10 on the Adult R&B chart. “Celebrate” rises 13-10 with a bullet.