Climb to the top of the pops and dive deep down into the depths with the flops in our new, improved edition of Pop Power Ranking (now called Pop Stars and Flop Stars).
Today, I welcome you to Pop Stars and Flop Stars, a retooling of Pop Power Ranking. If you’ve been following Pop Power Ranking for the last couple of months, you will know that, in said feature, I ranked five pop stars based on the week’s chart performance and other factors. Starting today, however, things are a little different. For one thing, you’ll notice Pop Stars and Flop Stars is shorter. (This is probably good for all involved.) This is because I have chosen to only highlight the week’s biggest success story and the week’s biggest opposite-of-success story, cutting out a good chunk of the “you did okay but not the best maybe” stuff in the middle. For another thing, you’ll notice that the (admittedly very arbitrary) Power Rating scale is gone. What we’re left with: one Pop Star — someone who secured the lion’s share of No. 1s, trophies, and/or other cultural gold stars (both tangible and intangible) and one Flop Star who… well, you get the idea. And that’s about all there is to say. Let’s get into it.
This Week’s Pop Star: Drake
Drake holds at No. 1 on the Billboard Album 200 for the third straight week with 239,000 total units (83,000 in pure sales). It’s also good news for Drizzy on the Hot 100, where “One Dance” returns to the top spot after being displaced for a week by Justin Timberlake‘s middling Trolls song, “Can’t Stop the Feeling.” What more is there to say? Drake is on top — quite literally — no matter where you turn.
- Beyoncé, whose Lemonade is still selling like, well, lemonade on a hot summer day
- Britney Spears, who made a relatively triumphant return to the televised stage as opener for the 2016 Billboard Music Awards
- Chance the Rapper, whose Coloring Book became the first album to chart on the Album 200 based on streams alone
This Week’s Flop Star: Meghan Trainor
Meghan, Meghan, Meghan. We were rooting for you! Were we? Or were we just resigned to your presence after a longer-than-we-could-have-predicted string of hits and successes? Trainor’s much-hyped sophomore album, Thank You, debuts at No. 3 on the Billboard Album 200 with 107,000 total units moved (84,000 of which were pure sales). It comes in behind Beyoncé‘s month-old Lemonade and Drake‘s three-week-old Views. Its sales are but a fraction of what her debut album, Title, moved its first week on shelves in January 2015. What happened? Aside from the stalled singles, I mean. Perhaps it was the Best New Artist Curse. Perhaps it’s just life imitating her recent Tonight Show performance. Maybe things will pick up for ol’ M-Train as we head into the summer; we can’t count her totally out just yet. Another thing we can’t do: pretend that this one of those scenarios where a good album isn’t getting the kind of attention it deserves. Thank You is no Emotion; its reviews are nothing for which one should be thankful.
- Ariana Grande, whose Dangerous Woman, which should have been a runaway smash, is in a dangerous struggle for next week’s No. 1 with weaker-than-expected first-week estimates
- Madonna, whom the internet cut no slack after her pitchy, flat tribute to Prince at the Billboard Music Awards
- Justin Bieber, who continues to demonstrate via shockingly bratty behavior that we were mistaken in giving him another chance