Those baby blues of his may have helped Lee DeWyze top Crystal Bowersox for the “American Idol” Season 9 title, but they have done squat in selling albums. When DeWyze’s debut album sold a paltry 39,000 units in its first week, he earned the unwanted distinction of having the worst first week sales by any “American Idol” winner, or runner-up, for that matter. There’s only one direction to go, right? (Click here to see how all winners and runners up did in first week sales)

Many of his fans optimistically hoped that “Live It Up” would be a slow yet steady seller. A year later, those hopes and dreams have been squashed. With almost a year on store shelves, the album has only sold a disappointing 168,000 copies. The numbers were so sad, newly appointed RCA Records CEO Peter Edge dropped Lee from the label. When his option ran out at the end of September, the label said “thanks, but no thanks“.

RCA is still the home of several Idol winners. Which ones? You know, that ones that sell. Season 8′s Kris Allen, season 7′s David Cook, Season 6′s Jordin Sparks, season 4′s Carrie Underwood and season 1′s Kelly Clarkson all still call RCA home. Reigning Idol winner Scotty McCreery better sell records if he wants to stay in their company. Judging by estimated first week sales, he won’t have to worry.


Scotty McCreery dropped his debut album “Clear As Day” this week and it looks like his popularity on the show is translating nicely to record sales. Industry insiders say his debut effort is on track to sell an estimated 150,000 – 175,000 copies this week. Anything in that range will easily trounce what Lee DeWyze did in an entire year. Ouch.

With those numbers, McCreery will still atop of the Billboard 200. He’ll be the first winner since Ruben Studdard to have their first album debut at No. 1. Technically, David Cook, Taylor Hicks, Carrie Underwood, Fantasia all sold more in their first week than McCreery, but luckily for him, the competition isn’t as stiff this week. In addition the record-buying landscape has drastically declined in the past few years.

While first week sales are important, it’s how you finish the race and not how you start it. Just look at the following statistics rankings the Top 10 debut album total sales from Idol winners and runner-ups. McCreery is hoping he joins this illustrious list soon. It’s worth nothing that 4th place finisher, Chris Daughtry sold 4,575,000 in his first post-Idol effort. Jennifer Hudson who finished 7th sold over 750,000 copies of her “Spotlight” CD, and would’ve made this Top 10 list as well, had it included all former Idol contestants.

  • 1. 6,876,000, Carrie Underwood, “Some Hearts”
  • 2. 2,784,000, Clay Aiken, “Measure of a Man”
  • 3. 2,732,000, Kelly Clarkson, “Thankful”
  • 4. 1,793,000, Fantasia, “Free Yourself”
  • 5. 1,791,000, Ruben Studdard, “Soulful”
  • 6. 1,257,000, David Cook, “David Cook”
  • 7. 1,028,000, Jordin Sparks, “Jordin Sparks”
  • 8. 758,000 Adam Lambert, “For Your Entertainment”
  • 9. 740,000, David Archuleta, “David Archuleta”
  • 10. 704,000, Taylor Hicks, “Taylor Hicks”

Clearly, not only did “American Idol” bounce back creatively last season, but it also succeeded in creating a bona fide recording artist? Will lightning strike again this year? More importantly, will the winner of “The X Factor” top recent Idol winners on the Billboard charts. I know Simon Cowell is hoping so.