Star-Crossed Rivals Britney Spears And Christina Aguilera Finally Meet In The Top 10

Britney and Christina

By Sterling Wong

First, it was the Internet stock bubble rising again. And this week, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera meet at last in the Billboard Hot 100 Top 10. It’s like the late ‘90s never left!

Yes, with Maroon 5 and Christina’s ‘Moves Like Jagger’ zooming back up to the Hot 100 Top 10 at No. 8, and Britney inching up two notches to No. 7 with ‘I Wanna Go,’ history was officially made this week as ex-Mouseketeers and former teen pop rivals Britney and Christina both appear in the Top 10 together for the first time ever!

It might seem surprising to many that it’s taken 12 years for the seemingly intrinsically tied duo to chart in the top 10 simultaneously, given that both Britney and Christina have reigned supreme in the pop world for years. But much like the relationship between Brit and Chrissy, their chart story is a complicated one.

Both Britney and Christina, as we all know so well, exploded onto the scene with hit singles “Baby One More Time” and “Genie In a Bottle,” which hit the top of the Hot 100 about six months apart. While Christina continued with her singles success in the early 2000s, Britney struggled to make it into the upper echelons of the Hot 100 singles chart despite massive album sales. A stunning 15 of her first 19 singles missed the top 10 – and five of those 15 didn’t chart at all.

One big factor for Brit’s early chart misfires was the fact that in the early 2000s radio was heavily dominated by R&B/hip-hop with artists like Nelly, Ashanti and Ja Rule finding success. Britney, with her pure pop styling, failed to get huge radio airplay, which was, in the pre-digital sales era, a big part of the Hot 100’s formulation. Christina, on the other hand, had more rhythmic appeal from the get-go and thus consistently received radio support early on – all four singles from her debut album impressively peaked in the top 3.

The other part of the equation that determined a song’s chart position was, of course, its sales, and a decade ago, physical single sales were languishing badly as people took to mp3 downloading (Napster, anyone?). So with little airplay and diminishing sales, it’s no wonder Britney, at the peak of her prowess in the early aughts, could hardly score a top 10 hit.

Towards the end of the decade, the musical landscape shifted, and pop music became cool again. The Eurodance sound became de rigueur on radio, as exemplified by current radio favorites Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Katy Perry and Ke$ha. In this context, Britney’s dance beats became a radio staple. Also, with iTunes taking off in a spectacular fashion and legal digital downloads rising each year, the sales of a single regained its influence on chart positions, and the first-week rush factor of digital releases often means that artists can burst into the top 10 of the Hot 100 with little or no airplay. It was pretty much thanks to gangbusters first week digital sales that Britney debuted at No. 1 with both “3” and “Hold It Against Me.”

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And while Britney has started finding Hot 100 success these past years, Christina is struggling, at least relative to her career earlier, with fans not taking too well to either the retro sound of the “Back to Basics” singles or the futuristic beats of the “Bionic” cuts. Perhaps the laws of physics were such that Britney and Christina cannot hold Top 10 spots at the same time or else some sort of pop kingdom meltdown would occur.

Well, whatever it might be, what we’d have expected to happen many moons ago has finally happened, and we couldn’t be happier. Britney and Christina might have had tumultuous ups and downs in the course of their careers, but their current chart success is testament to their staying power and enduring appeal. There might have been a rivalry between the two in the past, with fans of one sniping at the other, but I think both ladies have now earned the respect, if not love, of the other’s fans. Maybe fans of both should join forces in a battle of the old guard (Brit and Chrissy) versus the new (Gaga, Katy, et al.). Meanwhile, long may Britney and Christina’s success continue, and let’s hope for more frequent chart meetings!

Britney’s Chart Peaks:
“…Baby One More Time” – #1 (Jan 30, 1999)
“Sometimes” – #21 (July 24, 1999)
“(You Drive Me) Crazy” – #10 (November 13, 1999)
“From the Bottom of My Broken Heart” – #14 (February 26, 2000)
“Oops!…I Did It Again” – #9 (June 10, 2000)
“Lucky” – #23 (September 09, 2000)
“Stronger” – #11 (January 27, 2001)
“Don’t Let Me Be the Last to Know – Did Not Chart
“I’m a Slave 4 U” – #27 (December 01, 2001)
“Overprotected” – #86 (May 04, 2002)
“Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman” – Did Not Chart
“Boys” – Did Not Chart
“Me Against the Music” – #35 (November 29, 2003)
“Toxic” – #9 (March 27, 2004)
“Everytime” – #15 (July 03, 2004)
Outrageous – #79 (August 28, 2004)
“My Prerogative” –Did Not Chart
Do Somethin’ – #100 (April 16, 2005)
“Someday (I Will Understand) – Did Not Chart
“Gimme More” – #3 (October 13, 2007)
“Piece of Me” – #18 (February 09, 2008)
Break the Ice” – #43 (May 24, 2008)
“Womanizer” – #1 (October 25, 2008)
“Circus” – #3 (December 20, 2008)
“If You Seek Amy” – #19 (May 09, 2009)
“Radar” – #88 (September 05, 2009)
“3” – #1 (October 24, 2009)
“Hold It Against Me” – #1 (January 29, 2011)
“S&M” – #1 (April 30, 2011)
“Till the World Ends” – #3 (May 5, 2011)
“I Wanna Go” – #7 (Aug 11, 2011)

Christina’s Chart Peaks:
“Genie in a Bottle” – #1 (July 31, 1999)
“The Christmas Song” – #18 (January 08, 2000)
“What a Girl Wants” – #1 (January 15, 2000)
“I Turn To You” – #3 (July 01, 2000)
“Come On Over Baby (All I Want Is You)” – #1 (October 14, 2000)
“Nobody Wants To be Lonely” – #13 (March 08, 2001)
“Lady Marmalade” – #1 (June 02, 2001)
“Dirrty” – #48 (October 05, 2002)
“Beautiful” – #2 (February 01, 2003)
“Fighter” – #20 (May 24, 2003)
“Can’t Hold Us Down” – #12 (September 13, 2003)
“The Voice Within” – #33 (January 10, 2004)
“Car Wash” – #63 (September 18, 2004)
“Tilt Ya Head Back” – #58 (October 09, 2004)
“Ain’t No Other Man” – #6 (July 15, 2006)
“Hurt” – #19 (December 16, 2006)
“Tell Me” – #47 (December 30, 2006)
“Candyman” – #25 (March 31, 2007)
“Keeps Getting Better” – #7 (October 18, 2008)
“Not Myself Tonight – #23 (May 01, 2010)
“WooHoo” – #79 (June 05, 2010)
“Bionic” – #66 (June 26, 2010)
“Moves Like Jagger – #8 (August 11, 2011)