Forget about the trash-talking battle between Britney Spears supporters and Lady Gaga's Little Monsters about which diva will rule 2011. And, for the moment, disregard the fact that when Britney drops her latest single, "Hold It Against Me," on Tuesday, she'll have some stiff chart competition in the form of another new single from a pair of major dudes, Kanye West and Jay-Z's cryptically named "H.A.M.," the first single from their upcoming joint album, Watch the Throne.
The real question is: Will Britney be able to live up to her past glory? The club-thumping "Against Me" comes out after the former teen pop star cemented a career comeback in 2008 with her Circus album and its ensuing smash world tour. But a look at Brit's success on the singles chart with the first single from her album is a lesson in the ups and downs of a pop star's career arc.
While some songs were unexpected smashes out of the box (think "3" and "Womanizer"), others either failed to chart ("My Prerogative") or didn't do as well as you might have expected ("I'm a Slave 4 U").
Billboard ran down the chart debuts of the first singles from each of Spears' albums, and they tell an interesting tale that could bode well for her latest chart attack.
5: Number of first singles from Spears' eight albums (which includes two best-ofs) that have hit the top 10.
3: Number of Hot 100 #1 songs that have been the lead singles from that project.
2: Brit's last two singles ("3" and "Womanizer") have hit #1 on the Hot 100.
5.1 million: Combined digital sales for those tracks.
43: Combined weeks on the charts for those singles.
32: Highest number of weeks on the chart for a lead single (" ... Baby One More Time").
85: Lowest chart debut for a lead single ("Gimme More").
95: Number of spots "Womanizer" jumped in week two on the singles chart after debuting at #96.
16: "3" became only the 16th song in Hot 100 history to debut at #1 in October 2009.
How do you think Britney's "Hold It Against Me" will do in its chart debut? Let us know in the comments!