Welcome to The Contenders, a midweek column that appears at artists aiming for the highest of the Billboard charts, and the methods behind their efforts. This week (for the upcoming charts dated Jan. 28), SZA’s SOS is predicted to simply fend off challengers on the Billboard 200, however there shall be extra of a contest to succeed in the highest of the Billboard Sizzling 100, the place she faces stiff competitors from Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus and Shakira & Bizarrap as she seeks her first No. 1 .
SZA, “Kill Invoice” (High Dawg Leisure/RCA): As SZA’s SOS spends its fifth week atop the Billboard 200, her greatest single but climbs to a brand new peak of No. 2 on the Hot 100 (dated Jan. 21) this week. The melancholy (and murderous) “Kill Invoice” has dominated Billboard’s Streaming Songs chart for 3 weeks now, and it’s now additionally gaining at radio, debuting this week at No. 24 on Pop Airplay and No. 48 on R&B/Hip-Hop Songs Airplay.
Nevertheless, “Invoice” has but to seem on the 50-position all-genre Radio Songs itemizing, which Taylor Swift’s “Anti-Hero” — the eight-week Sizzling 100 No. 1 at present maintaining SZA from the highest spot — has dominated for 4 weeks. (Nonetheless, “Invoice” is just under the survey this week and prone to debut subsequent week.) Additionally to assist get the breakout hit excessive and rating the primary Sizzling 100 No. 1 of her profession, SZA launched a brand new four-song “Kill Invoice” pack to streaming companies final Friday (Jan. 13), including sped-up, instrumental and a cappella variations to the unique — all of that are at present on the market on her website, and discounted to 69 cents.
Miley Cyrus, “Flowers” (Columbia): Whether or not or not “Invoice” overtakes “Anti-Hero” this week, it might face solely new roadblocks in a pair of much-hyped singles that got here out final week. The larger of these is probably going “Flowers,” Friday’s first style of veteran pop star Miley Cyrus’ upcoming Infinite Summer season Trip album that’s due in March. Produced by common Harry Kinds collaborators Child Harpoon and Tyler Johnson, the mid-tempo kiss-off instantly received followers for its sunny pop-rock groove, self-reliant message and Bruno Mars-echoing (presumably Liam Hemsworth-referencing?) refrain.
After the music went viral on TikTok over the weekend, it bounded to the highest of each the Spotify and Apple Music each day charts, in addition to the iTunes song sales chart — and prime 40 has additionally shortly seized onto the monitor, with a splashy debut positive to come back on Radio Songs subsequent week. It’s the form of multi-platform dominance that has largely eluded Cyrus, regardless of her continued household-name standing, over the previous decade; she hasn’t reached greater than No. 8 on the Sizzling 100 (as an added performer to The Child LAROI’s “With out You” remix in 2021) since she topped the chart in 2013 with “Wrecking Ball,” her sole No. 1 up to now.
However Cyrus’ timing is true with “Flowers” — launched final Thursday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. EST, 5 hours forward of the monitoring week for subsequent week’s Sizzling 100. She’s benefiting from an early-year pop panorama that’s comparatively mild on impactful new releases, as evidenced by the Sizzling 100’s prime 40 at present being overrun by songs from 2022 (and even longer in the past). However simply as importantly, she’s driving optimistic momentum from her well-liked and well-received Miley’s New Yr’s Eve Celebration NBC particular, through which she dueted on outdated hits with godmother Dolly Parton and teased new music to come back, together with her full album announcement arriving lower than every week later. All of it provides as much as Cyrus having her greatest shot in 10 years at a return journey to No. 1 subsequent week.
Bizarrap & Shakira, “Bzrp Music Periods, Vol. 53” (Dale Play): Earlier than “Flowers” arrived, the buzziest debut of final week was simply Shakira’s incendiary team-up with in-demand Argentine DJ/producer Bizarrap. The propulsive electro-pop banger lit up the web upon its launch final Wednesday (Jan. 11, at 7:00 p.m. ET), notably for its shots-fired lyrics aimed straight on the famous person’s footballer ex-husband Gerard Piqué. “Vol. 53” shortly surged to No. 1 on YouTube’s Trending chart, and in addition reached the highest 10 and prime 20 on the each day Spotify and iTunes U.S. charts, respectively.
Regardless of popping out six days into the prior monitoring week, “Vol. 53” already debuts on a number of Billboard charts this week, together with a formidable No. 12 bow on the Global 200. It misses out on the Sizzling 100, however with its streaming momentum staying sturdy, it’s sure to crash the chart subsequent week. Nevertheless, with stateside radio not but embracing the Spanish-language monitor as a lot because it has “Flowers” and “Kill Invoice,” it might find yourself lagging behind these front-runners.
Taylor Swift, “Anti-Hero” (Republic): Whereas the threats to its reign are quite a few, you possibly can’t rely out Taylor Swift and her incumbent eight-week No. 1. Swift and her workforce have made all the proper strikes to increase the Midnights single’s reign to career-best lengths, together with releasing various remixes for the monitor on the market completely on her web site — and, most not too long ago, discounting these remixes to 69 cents from final Monday to Thursday (Jan. 9-12). Does she have any last-second methods up her sleeve for this chart week?