Carrie Underwood and John Legend’s “Hallelujah” ascends 2-1 on Billboard’s airplay-, sales- and streaming-based Hot Christian Songs chart (dated Dec. 26), marking Underwood’s third No. 1 and Legend’s first.
As “Hallelujah” hits No. 1, Underwood replaces herself in the penthouse. Her “Favorite Time of Year” dips to No. 2 following two weeks on top.
Underwood becomes the first woman to supplant herself at No. 1. The only other artist to do so in the 17-year history of Hot Christian Songs is Jordan Smith. On the chart dated Dec. 12, 2015, his “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” was in its second week atop the tally. On Dec. 19, his “Hallelujah” took over the top spot. (Smith’s “Hallelujah” is not the same composition as Underwood and Legend’s.) Smith performed both tracks during his winning 2015 season of NBC’s The Voice.
In the tracking week ending Dec. 17, Underwood and Legend’s “Hallelujah” surged by 56% to 8.6 million U.S. streams, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data. It also sold 5,000 downloads in that timeframe (up 16%) and drew 1.6 million in radio airplay audience (up 14%) in the week ending Dec. 20.
“Hallelujah,” which Legend wrote with Toby Gad, is from Underwood’s first holiday album, My Gift. The 11-song set debuted atop the Top Christian Albums and Top Country Albums charts dated Oct. 10 with 43,000 equivalent album units. It leads the former for a 12th week and the latter for a fourth frame (47,000 units, after hitting a high of 53,000 the week before). The LP is Underwood’s first on Top Christian Albums and her eighth No. 1, encompassing all her appearances, on Top Country Albums, making for a record career-opening No. 1 streak.
Plus, for a third straight week, Underwood holds the top three slots on Hot Christian Songs, as her version of “Silent Night” stays at No. 3. She is the first artist to control the top three positions on Hot Christian Songs for multiple weeks.
One other artist has achieved such a monopoly for one week: Kanye West dominated the entire top 10 on the ranking dated Nov. 9, 2019. That week, West’s first faith-based album, Jesus Is King, opened atop Top Christian Albums, Top Gospel Albums and the all-genre Billboard 200 (with 264,000 units).
Meanwhile, sibling duo For King & Country (Joel and Luke Smallbone) earns its eighth Christian Airplay leader as “O Come O Come Emmanuel,” featuring NEEDTOBREATHE, flies 8-1. In the week ending Dec. 20, the carol increased by 23% to 3.7 million audience impressions.
The carol is For King & Country’s eighth Christian Airplay leader, and third of 2020. It follows “Together,” the pair’s pandemic-inspired anthem of hope which features Kirk Franklin and Tori Kelly. The track led for five weeks beginning in August, after “Burn the Ships” anchored at No. 1 for five weeks starting in January. The pair first topped Christian Airplay in September 2014 with “Fix My Eyes.”
Christian rock band NEEDTOBREATHE earns its second Christian Airplay coronation, after “Washed in the Water” ruled for four weeks beginning in May 2008.
Additionally, the 8-1 leap for “O Come” marks the greatest rush into the end zone since January 2017 when Matt Maher’s “Glory (Let There Be Peace)” powered 11-1.