CHART WATCH: On A Roll: Adele Building Steam on Hot 100

Written by Hunter Schwarz on . Posted in Music

Chart Watch is 17 Tracks’ weekly look at the happenings on the Billboard Hot 100 with chart expert Hunter Schwarz.

Katy Perry clenches the No. 1  spot for a fifth non-consecutive week with “E.T.” featuring Kanye West, and it’s become painfully obvious that Perry’s fourth Teenage Dream chart topping single is not a flash-in-the-pan.

“E.T.” is coming off its best sales week ever two weeks ago (344,000) and is down slightly this week with figures slightly north of 300,000.  In total, “E.T.” is on track to be the top-selling song of 2011 to date. Its 2.48 million sales are hot on the tail of Cee Lo Green’s 2.49 million sales of “F**k You.” Sales of “E.T.” are on par with last summer’s smash “California Gurls” feat. Snoop Dogg, and they might even eclipse her ode to the Golden State, becoming her best-selling single ever.

“E.T.” becoming the juggernaut it is is startling considering it is the fourth single from a nine-month-old album, but it is proof of the position Perry plays in the pop landscape today – she’s the pin-up poster girl for singles artist. People love her songs more than they love her. Although I’m sure Perry and Capitol would like to change this perception over time, it doesn’t hurt her on the Hot 100. Rihanna has been in a similar position most of her career, and that has helped her amass ten No. 1s in just over five years.

Perry and West’s sales numbers this week  put them at No. 1 on the digital sales chart as well, but only by a razor thin margin. “E.T.” outsold Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” by roughly 500 downloads this week – the tightest margin since the week of December 24, 2005 when Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas Is You” and Eminem’s “When I’m Gone” each sold approximately 41,000.

Adele currently has the best shot at unseating Perry from No. 1, but she has a lot of catching up to do if she has a prayer of knocking the extraterrestrial blockbuster from the throne. It’s actually pretty surprising that a song from a British soul singer sits at No. 2 on the Hot 100. Euro-dance pop is to the early ’10s what hip-hop and R&B were to the mid-00s, completely dominating the charts, but right now, most of the big singles are under-performing.

Britney Spears moves 11-3 with “Till The World Ends,” but she can thank Nicki Minaj and Ke$ha for that. Spears teamed up with the two stars for a “Femme Fatale” remix of the song, which accounted for 68 percent of the 246,000 downloads the song sold last week. This No. 3 peak is the highest Spears and Jive should expect for the song. As made evident by the Spears’ assisted “S&M” remix with Rihanna, these team-ups are good enough for a one week bump, but they fizzle shortly thereafter.

Lady Gaga’s “Judas” continues to bomb. While I’m sure skads of other artists would kill to have a chart history like “Judas” has, for Gaga, it’s underwhelming. This week it drops 12-20, which puts it below “Born This Way” which sits at No. 16. The premiere of the song’s music video as well as Gaga’s appearance on American Idol could help it, but listeners aren’t connecting with “Judas” the way they have previous Gaga singles. The lead single for Beyonce’s next album is even more of a flop. “Run the World (Girls)” falls 33-48 this week.

A few weeks ago, I would have all but predicted the next No. 1 would be by either of those artists, but now I’m placing my money on Adele. It begs the question, why? Why is “Rolling In The Deep” on a roll as these dancey jams by pop divas falter? A lot of the credit goes to Colombia Records and her marketing team. They’ve done an amazing job promoting her which has shown on the Billboard 200 album chart and is now becoming evident on the Hot 100.  Adele’s 21 has spent six non-consecutive weeks at No. 1 over the past three months and shows no signs of slowing. In my last Chart Watch column I discussed how this could hurt her on the Hot 100. Lots of people buy her album, so not as many people download her songs. Fortunately for her, I don’t think that’s a problem. Adele has become a rare artist who crosses over generational boundaries. Lots of parents are buying her album, and their kids are snapping up her songs. Consider, Glee covered her “Turning the Tables” a few weeks back, and Haley Reinhart sang a stirring rendition of “Rolling In The Deep” on American Idol the other week. Adele is connecting with the kids too.

All of this seems to be pointing to “Rolling In The Deep” taking No. 1 next week. Currently, on iTunes, the tune is No. 1, and Lady Antebellum’s “Just A Kiss” separates the song from Katy Perry’s jam. “Rolling” has been building steam, and considering the minuscule margin between it and “E.T.” this week, it seems like it will finally pull away. Add that to its growing radio spins, and Adele could have a winning formula.

Here’s what’s happening on the rest of the Hot 100:

  • Rihanna’s 10th No. 1 will go down in the history books as “S&M” feat. Britney Spears. There’s no getting around the fact that without Britney, “S&M” would have had to settle for No. 2 again. But the sudden splurge in sales that resulted in Spears’ assist came to a screeching halt in its second week of availability, leading Billboard to go back to crediting the song to Rihanna alone.
  • Chris Brown moves 8-1o with “Look At Me Now” feat. Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes, but its interesting to note that this is his best performing song since his domestic abuse incident with Rihanna.
  • Kanye West takes “All of the Lights” to a new high of No. 18. Considering how Rihanna is chart gold, it’s surprising the song isn’t doing any better.
  • While Beyonce bombs, her former Destiny’s Child bandmate, Kelly Rowland, is doing pretty well for herself all things considered. “Motivation” feat. Lil Wayne rises 54-43.

Here’s this week’s top ten:

  1. “E.T.” – Katy Perry feat. Kanye West (fifth non-consecutive week at No. 1)
  2. “Rolling In The Deep” – Adele
  3. “Till The World Ends” – Britney Spears feat. Nicki Minaj & Ke$ha
  4. “Just Can’t Get Enough” – Black Eyed Peas
  5. “The Lazy Song” – Bruno Mars
  6. “S&M” – Rihanna
  7. “On The Floor” – Jennifer Lopez feat. Pitbull
  8. “Blow” – Ke$ha
  9. “Down On Me” – Jeremih feat. 50 Cent
  10. “Look At Me Now” – Chris Brown feat. Lil Wayne & Busta Rhymes

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