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What Will Be the Hot 100’s First Post-Holidays No. 1? 

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The Contenders is a midweek column that looks at artists aiming for the top of the Billboard charts, and the strategies behind their efforts. This week (for the upcoming Billboard Hot 100 dated Jan. 13), the holiday rush is over on the charts, and now we see what rises back to the top when all those festive classics finally fall away.  

Jack Harlow, “Lovin on Me” (Generation Now/Atlantic): It almost feels like a chart nerd trivia question at this point: What song was No. 1 on the Hot 100 before Brenda Lee’s “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas Is You” spent five weeks trading off at the top spot? The answer: Jack Harlow’s “Lovin on Me,” which reached pole position in its second chart week after its quickly viral debut, becoming his third No. 1 in as many years on the listing.  

Over a month later, the song is still going strong: It’s the only non-Christmas entry in this week’s top 10, holding on at No. 9, and has climbed to No. 5 on Radio Songs, while also reclaiming its throne atop the daily rankings for Spotify and Apple Music. In other words, there’s every indication that with the holiday songs disappearing on the Hot 100 – as they customarily do the first full chart week post-Christmas — “Lovin on Me” will not only be a leading candidate to recapture the top spot, but that it might be around for a long time still to come.

Taylor Swift, “Cruel Summer” (Republic): What, you thought that with the calendar turning to 2024, you might actually have a little less Taylor in your life? Not on this chart, anyway. Swift still maintained a trio of songs on the Hot 100 throughout the holiday season – led, of course by the blazing “Cruel Summer,” which topped the ranking for four weeks in October and November and remains the second-highest-ranking non-holiday song this week (No. 19), behind “Lovin.”  

And it’s still not cooling down. “Summer,” revived from 2019’s Lover, tops Radio Songs for a 10th frame this week – the longest leader of Swift’s career – while returning to the top five on Spotify’s Daily Top Songs USA chart. If even the coldest time of the year can’t tamp down this song’s incandescence, it just might end up sticking around through next summer, as well.  

Tate McRae, “Greedy” (RCA): One song that was still growing as it ended up getting swallowed by the holiday rush was Tate McRae’s breakout smash “Greedy.” The pop favorite, which spends a fourth week at No. 1 on Pop Airplay this week, had broken into the Hot 100’s top 10, reaching as high as No. 7 – but would have gotten even higher had it not had to compete with the seasonal likes of Brenda and Mariah — particularly in the release week (Dec. 8) of parent album Think Later, when “Greedy” ranked behind just “Lovin” among all non-holiday songs.  

The song should still be a contender in the post-holiday season, though: It remains a strong performer on both streaming and radio, and currently rates as the third-highest non-Christmas song on the Hot 100 (No. 24). That means it’s likely to hit a new peak on the chart this week as the holiday songs get put away for the new year – and beyond that, if it can get an extra boost from a new remix or performance or something else to help it regain momentum, it wouldn’t be too greedy for McRae to set her sights on the top spot.  

IN THE MIX 

Zach Bryan feat. Kacey Musgraves, “I Remember Everything” (Belting Bronco/Warner): This one feels like it came out a lifetime ago at this point, but it was only the Hot 100 dated Sept. 9 when Bryan’s and Musgraves’ duet bowed atop the chart. Four months later, the song has scarcely slowed on streaming – it’s currently in the top five on both Spotify’s and Apple Music’s daily charts – and still holds at No. 31 on the Hot 100, higher than all but four pre-holiday entries. The airwaves remain the final frontier for “Everything,” as it’s gaining slowly and surely, but remains well below the 50-song cutoff to make the Radio Songs chart.  

Tyla, “Water” (Fax/Epic): “Water” was another pop hit still gaining as the holiday takeover began, just touching the top 10 (at No. 10) before the waves of Christmas songs swept it back to shore. This week, Tyla‘s hit rests just below “Everything” at No. 32 on the Hot 100, with room still to grow on radio – as it rules the Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart for a sixth week — though how much the South African singer-songwriter wants to continue pushing the crossover smash rather than moving on to other material (like newer single “Truth or Dare”) remains to be seen.  

Nicki Minaj, “FTCU” (Young Money/Cash Money/Republic): While the Junior Senior-sampling “Everybody” held the early lead as the breakout single from rap queen Nicki Minaj’s Billboard 200-topping Pink Friday 2 album, it appears that it will soon be lapped by LP-mate “FTCU.” The Waka Flocka Flame-lifting jam has long passed “Everybody” on both the Spotify and Apple Music daily charts (landing in the top 10 on both) and it also appears two spots higher on this week’s Hot 100 (No. 53 vs. No. 55), as a major radio embrace may be the only thing standing in the way of it becoming Minaj’s biggest unaccompanied solo hit since 2022’s “Super Freaky Girl.”  

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