'Perfect' Aiming for No. 1 on Billboard Hot 100
On this week's Hot 100 (dated Dec. 16), "Perfect" pushes from No. 5 to a new No. 3 high, aided by a partial first day of impact from the new version. It ranks below Post Malone's "Rockstar," featuring 21 Savage, at No. 1 for an eighth week, and Camila Cabello's "Havana," featuring Young Thug, at its No. 2 peak for a fifth frame.
Highlights of next week's Hot 100, which blends streaming, airplay and sales data, according to Nielsen Music, will post on Billboard.com Monday (Dec. 11).
"Perfect" was first released as a solo song by Sheeran on his album ÷ (Divide), which debuted atop the Billboard 200 dated March 25. Last Thursday, Nov. 30, at 7 p.m. ET, the new duet version was released, hours before the end of the sales and streaming tracking week. In the tracking week ending tonight, Dec. 7, the song should sell 160,000 or more downloads, according to preliminary data. Such a sum could be enough to propel "Perfect" past "Rockstar" and crown the Hot 100.
For chart purposes, both versions of "Perfect" will contribute to the song's singular listing on the Hot 100. Additionally, following the first full week of tracking for the duet version, which could account for two-thirds of the song's sales in the week, Beyoncé will be added on the Hot 100 as a credited artist on "Perfect."
"Perfect" topping the Hot 100 following the addition of Beyoncé would mark the second instance this year of a high-profile star joining a song that had already charted in its original version and then hit No. 1. Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's "Despacito" reached an initial No. 44 high in April; once Justin Bieber was added as a featured artist, the song soared 48-9 on the May 6-dated chart before spending a record-tying 16 weeks at No. 1.
While "Despacito" topped the Hot 100 in its fourth week after the arrival of the Bieber version, "Perfect" could become the first song to hit No. 1 directly following the addition of a guest since Kendrick Lamar joined Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood," which blasted 53-1 on the Hot 100 dated June 6, 2015, after the collab's release, including its all-star video, which premiered to kick off the 2015 Billboard Music Awards.
Meanwhile, If "Perfect" tops the Hot 100, Sheeran would score his second leader on the list, after Divide lead single "Shape of You" debuted atop the chart dated Jan. 28 and reigned for 12 weeks.
Beyoncé would earn her sixth Hot 100 No. 1 as a soloist (in addition to four as a member of Destiny's Child) and her first in nine years, since "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" ruled for four weeks beginning Dec. 13, 2008. Since then, she rose as high as No. 2 with "Drunk in Love," featuring her husband, JAY-Z, in 2014.
Beyonce would also tally her third top 15 hit since October; she was similarly added to J Balvin and Willy William's "Mi Gente," helping the song soar to No. 3 in October, and is featured on Eminem's "Walk on Water," which debuted at its No. 14 peak on the Dec. 2-dated chart.
And, a duet fun fact (that happens to tie in to JAY-Z): "Perfect" would mark the first Hot 100 No. 1 of the 2010s credited equally to a solo male and female. No such song has led since JAY-Z and Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind," which ruled for five weeks beginning Nov. 28, 2009. One song since then rose as high as No. 2, in March: Zayn and Taylor Swift's "I Don't Wanna Live Forever (Fifty Shades Darker)."