1. Love in This Club - Usher (feat. Young Jeezy)
Last week I wrote about the chart jam in the Hot 100, both the singles queued up behind Low Rida's "Low," which had reigned at #1 for 10 weeks, and the pack of singles bunched up just outside the top 10. That logjam is broken forcefully this week not by any of those singles, but by a single that last week wasn't even in the top 50. Rising 50 spots to hit #1 is the latest single by R&B/pop sensation Usher. If this had a been a sales-driven climb I wouldn't have been as surprised, but Billboard named this its airplay gainer for the week, making this feat all the more impressive. Usher has been a dominant force in pop music this decade. His last album, Confessions, scored five top 10 hits, four of which became #1s. In total, "Love in This Club" is Usher's 8th #1 hit, a run that began just over 10 years ago when his second top 40 hit, "Nice & Slow" became his first #1 in January 1998.
5. Love Song - Sara Bareilles
So of those three songs that last week hoped to be this week's #1, all three slide back one place, clearing the way for Usher, and two of them, Chris Brown's "With You" and Rihanna's "Don't Stop the Music," lose their bullets. Only Sara Bareilles continues to show chart momentum, despite slipping back a spot to #5.
6. No Air - Jordin Sparks (feat. Chris Brown)
Jordin Sparks makes an impressive leap into the top 10 with her third top 40 single, "No Air," a duet with the aforementioned Chris Brown. "No Air" instantly becomes Sparks' biggest hit to date, outshining her previous single "Tattoo," which peaked at #8. The honor is well deserved, as "No Air" is a vastly superior single and a contender for a future #1.
19. Feedback - Janet Jackson
Here's something I didn't expect. Janet Jackson hasn't had a top 40 hit since the summer of 2001, when her last decent (IMO) single, "Someone to Call My Lover," was a #3 hit. This single had been hovering around the 50s the last few weeks, but upon the release of her album, Discipline, shoots up to #19, making it a higher charting single than anything she released from her last two albums.
41. Bleeding Love - Leona Lewis
Finally, bubbling just under the top 40 is Leona Lewis' debut single "Bleeding Love," which was a major #1 hit in her British homeland last year. If Lewis enters the top 40 next week, which she most certainly will, she will become the first British import originating from a reality music competition show to score a top 40 hit in the U.S., a feat not achieved by Will Young, Girls Aloud, Liberty X, Shayne Ward or any other of the recent UK acts whose fame was born on television.