Number Ones collects singles from her third studio album Control (1986) to her 10th studio album Discipline (2008), and was made possible as a joint venture between Universal and EMI Music. The album's single, "Make Me", was made available for digital download on September 22, 2009. On December 22, "Make Me" became her 19th number-one hit single on the BillboardHot Dance Club Songs chart.
In September 2009, Janet Jackson performed "Scream" on the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards as part of a medley tribute to Michael Jackson, who died three months earlier. Following this, "Make Me" was released on Jackson's official website as an audio stream for those who joined the site's e-mail newsletter. On September 22, 2009 it was released as a digital download for purchase. Although claims were made that "Make Me" is a tribute song to her late brother, Michael Jackson's 1979 single "Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough", Jackson later stated in an interview with Ryan Seacrest it is not, despite the similarity of the lyrics in the song's outro. In October 2009, UMe issued a press release stating "Make Me" would be included in Jackson's second greatest hits album, comprising 33 of her global number one singles. The two-disc set spans chart-topping singles from Control (1986) to Discipline (2008) across the Billboard Hot 100, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, Hot Dance Club Songs, Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks, and international charts such as Oricon and the South African Singles Chart.
Number Ones debuted at number 22 on the Billboard 200, selling 40,374 copies (80,748 units) in its first week, and has since sold 273,000 (546,000 units) in the US. The Best was certified Gold in the UK for sales in excess of 100,000. "Make Me" became Jackson's nineteenth number one on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart. She became the first artist to earn number one singles on the Dance/Club play chart across the last four decades, starting from the 1980s to the 2010s (her first achieved in 1986).
Number Ones received universal acclaim from music critics. Sal Cinquemani of Slant Magazine gave the album four-and-a-half stars, commenting "that the songs on Janet Jackson's first-ever comprehensive hits collection, Number Ones, have been sequenced in chronological order only magnifies the impact she had on late-'80s and early-'90s pop, when she helped define the sound of Top 40 radio along with the likes of Madonna, Prince, and her brother Michael." He also comments on the commercial decline of her recent work, stating "[b]ut just as Number Ones's sequencing highlights Janet's impressive early years, it also underscores her startlingly abrupt decline...and the "hits" from her last three albums are a mere footnote here." Andy Kellman of Allmusic remarked: "Say what you want about Janet peaking with Jam & Lewis during the latter half of the '80s—to be fair, the argument is valid—but she did rack up a career's worth of solid hits during the years that followed. Even if they were not as sonically innovative and lacked the same amount of pop appeal of the Control/Rhythm Nation-era singles, they clearly made a significant impact and have aged well." Val Christopher of Rockstar Weekly commented, "A look back at Jackson's storied career provides more than ample reason for her being one of the world's most recognizable people. Number Ones opens with a string of Jackson's best and most memorable tracks. 'What Have You Done For Me Lately', 'Nasty', 'Control', 'Miss You Much' and perhaps her finest single, 'Rhythm Nation'."
"Make Me": It was released as the first and only single from the album on September 22, 2009. It is the only new song included on the album. The song was presented as an audio stream to those who joined her official mailing list in September, later that month it was released via digital download. The song failed to chart on the US Billboard Hot 100, but it reached the number one position on the Hot Dance Club Songs chart and it peaked at number 71 on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. It entered the top 50 in Italy, the top 20 in Japan and the top 75 in UK.
To celebrate the release of Number Ones, Universal Music Group (UMG) and Flash Mob America organized three fan gatherings on November 14, 2009 in Los Angeles. Kyle Anderson of MTV reported fans' gatherings in various Los Angeles locations "to dance and pay tribute to some of the veteran diva's best dance moves and songs." Jackson made an appearance at the gathering which took place at The Grove at Farmers Market. ABC's In the Spotlight with Robin Roberts interviewed Jackson in a one-hour interview special that aired on November 18, 2009. A few days later, singer performed an eight-minute medley of six hits during the American Music Awards of 2009. It included "Control", "Miss You Much", "What Have You Done for Me Lately", "If", "Make Me", and finished with "Together Again". At the end of the performance, the singer received applause and standing ovation from the audience. Jackson traveled to the United Kingdom to further promote the album. She performed "Make Me" on The X Factor results show on December 6, 2009. She pre-recorded the performance so she could perform as the headliner of the Jingle Bell Ball in London. She closed the concert with a medley of her greatest hits including "Make Me", wearing half hareem-pant, half skirt concoction, jackets and high-top trainers.
On February 4, 2011, Jackson embarked on her sixth concert tour to further promote Number Ones, entitled Number Ones: Up Close and Personal. It visited Asia, North America, Europe, Australia, Africa, and South America. Jackson traveled to 35 different cities selected by fans, one chosen for each of her number one hits. The tour took an organic and intimate approach, excluding the elaborate theatrics and pyrotechnics her concerts have become infamous for, focusing on her musicality and choreography. Fans were to vote on cities via her official website. She honored 20 people who performed service in their community with the "20 Under 20" contest and dedicated one hit to each city during every show. In December, Jackson announced the first date in Wan Chai, Hong Kong. In April, Jackson extended the tour's North American and European legs into the fall due to massive sellouts. She also extended the tour into Australia, Africa, and South America. The show's intimate aura was praised among critics, many commending Jackson's showmanship in contrast to her more recent contemporaries. The majority of the tour had completely sold out. The tour achieved several attendance records, and grossed US$60 million in total.