'American Idol' on the Charts: The Top 20 Christmas Songs by Finalists
Also: Phillip Phillips' "Home" holds steady on Triple A radio and a "World Idol" winner returns with a holiday favorite.
THE (JINGLE) BELLS ARE RINGING: It happens every December. Holiday songs crowd out non-seasonal hits on the Billboard charts as radio turns to Christmas fare. One format that really takes this time of the year to heart is Adult Contemporary. Many AC stations play Christmas music 24/7 from sometime in November until Dec. 25.
For the last 10 years, a good number of Idols have put their own spin on holiday classics and enough of them have charted to generate a list of the top 20 Christmas songs by finalists from the Fox TV series.
The songs are ranked in order of peak position on the Adult Contemporary chart. Ties have been broken by weeks in peak position and then number of total weeks on the chart.
1. “Up on the Housetop,” Kimberley Locke (2005)
2. “Frosty the Snowman,” Kimberley Locke (2008)
3. “Jingle Bells,” Kimberley Locke (2006)
4. “Do You Hear What I Hear,” Carrie Underwood (2007)
5. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” Kelly Clarkson (2012)
6. “Do You Hear What I Hear,” Jordin Sparks (2012)
7. “The First Noel,” Clay Aiken (2004)
8. “Winter Wonderland,” Clay Aiken (2004)
9. “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” Carrie Underwood (2008)
10. “Silver Bells,” Clay Aiken with Kimberley Locke (2004) [tie]
10. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” Katharine McPhee featuring Chris Botti (2010) [tie]
12. “My Grown Up Christmas List,” Kelly Clarkson (2004)
13. “Christmas Day,” Michael W. Smith featuring Mandisa (2007)
14. “We Need a Little Christmas,” Kimberley Locke (2009)
15. “This Christmas,” Elliott Yamin (2008)
16. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” David Archuleta (2009)
17. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” Ruben Studdard with Tamyra Gray (2003)
18. “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing/O Come All Ye Faithful,” Clay Aiken (2005)
19. “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” Clay Aiken (2005)
20. “Mary, Do You Know,” Clay Aiken (2005)
A quick look at the list reveals that 11 Idols have songs included in the top 20. The Idols with the most songs on the list are Clay Aiken (6) and Kimberley Locke (5). Locke is clearly the queen of Idol Christmas music, with the top three songs on the list. All three went to No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart, with “Up on the Housetop” reigning for four weeks.
Two of the top 20 songs are in the top 10 of the current AC survey. “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” by Kelly Clarkson is up 10-7 and “Do You Hear What I Hear” by Jordin Sparks is forced down 8-9 but is awarded a bullet for increased airplay over last week.
A couple of songs appear on the list twice: “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and “Do You Hear What I Hear” but the champ, with four appearances in the top 20, is “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” recorded by Katharine McPhee, David Archuleta, Ruben Studdard with Tamyra Gray and Aiken.
‘HOME’ BUILT TO LAST: Phillip Phillips’ “Home” isn’t yielding its place atop two charts. The song is No. 1 on the Triple A Audience chart for the sixth week and the Triple A chart for the fifth week. On the Hot 100, “Home” holds at No. 7, its peak position to date. On the Rock Digital Songs and Adult Too 40 charts, “Home” stands pat at No. 2.
BITS AND PIECES: Carrie Underwood’s “Two Black Cadillacs” debuts at No. 37 on the Country Digital Songs chart… Jason Castro’s "Gloria (Hark! The Herald Angels Sing/Angels We Have Heard On High)" may not be on the Adult Contemporary chart, so doesn’t show up in the top 20 Christmas songs by Idols, but the song is doing very well on the Christian Songs list, where it rises 35-28. Same goes for Mandisa’s “It’s Christmas,” which leaps 23-14… One more note about the song “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” It’s the title track of the album that jumps 27-9 on the album chart in Norway this week. The artist is Kurt Nilsen, winner of both the first season of Idol in Norway and the one-time special World Idol, broadcast Jan. 1, 2004. Nilsen’s holiday album was released in 2010 and peaked at No. 1 on the Norwegian album chart in its initial chart run.