UPDATE (5/19/20, 10:50 a.m. ET) Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber debuted their stay-at-home serenade "Stuck With U" earlier this month with a charming video that mashed up home-quarantine videos from fans and celebrity friends, and with positive change in mind. With proceeds from sales and streams going to the children of COVID-19 frontline responders via grant funding and scholarships, the single-for-a-good-cause quickly struck a chord with listeners, and on Monday (May 18), Billboard announced that the track has debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
The achievement marks Grande's third time leading the chart, Bieber's sixth, and their first together; it is also both singers' third song on the Hot 100. Notably, only industry giants Mariah Carey and Drake (who made his third debut with "Toosie Slide" in April) have previously debuted at No. 1 that many times. Congratulations to the young pop duo!
But the news did not come without some controversy. The single beat out "Gooba," the rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine's first post-prison release, which netted at No. 3 and is tied for his highest-charting single with Nicki Minaj, "Fefe." Tekashi took the opportunity to accuse Billboard of selling No. 1 spots. "YOU'RE A LIE AND CORRUPT. YOU GOT CAUGHT CHEATING AND THE WORLD WILL KNOW," he wrote in an Instagram post. In a corresponding video of the musician in all-white speaking to-camera, he referenced "30,000 units" — by which he presumably meant streams of "Stuck With U" — purchased with "six credit cards" that allegedly ensured the single's place on the chart. He added, "I want the world to know that Billboard is a lie. You can buy No. 1's on Billboard."
For her part, Grande didn't seem too bothered. The "7 Rings" singer took to social media to celebrate the landmark achievement, showing her gratitude for her fans. "thank u to everybody who supported this song, this cause and made this happen. we love uuuuu so much," she wrote in an Instagram post.
In the same breath, she chose to "address a few things" by writing, "my fans bought the song. JUSTIN’S fans bought the song. ... to anybody that is displeased with their placement on the chart this week or who is spending their time racking their brain thinking of as many ways as they can to discredit hardworking women (and only the women for some reason.....), i ask u to take a moment to humble yourself."
Though Grande did not call out Tekashi by name, she closed her post by congratulating her colleagues on the chart — "even number 3," she wrote.
Justin Bieber also responded to the accusation in an Instagram story posted on Monday. The singer explained that the last-minute disclosure of units mentioned by Tekashi was part of a strategy to keep numbers quiet. "Nielsen company checks this and found all our fans are amazing and bought them," he wrote. "Don't discredit our fan base with false info."
"This is my song with Ariana Grande and I'm honored to work with her to help raise money for a good cause," Bieber added. "If you gonna say her name make sure you say mine because it's our song."
That same day, Billboard chimed in to explain how the outlet came to its calculation for the week's Hot 100 race, making transparent its locked-in methodology. As for those six credit cards? "Billboard and Nielsen Music/MRC Data conducts audits on all sales reported with access to purchase-level detail, and works with data partners to recognize excessive bulk purchases and remove those units from the final sales total," the article read. "All titles this week, as in every week, were put under the same scrutiny."
In conclusion, here is how the numbers stacked up: "Overall, “Stuck With U” drew 28.1 million U.S. streams, 26.3 million in radio airplay audience and 108,000 sold in the tracking week. “Gooba” had 55.3 million U.S. streams, 172,000 in radio airplay audience and 24,000 sold."