'American Idol' on the Charts: Kelly Clarkson Earns Her 80th No. 1
Season 11 winner Phillip Phillips scores his eighth chart-topper on Adult Contemporary. Plus: A paradox for season nine’s Casey James.
WAITING TO EXHALE: If you were holding your breath for Kelly Clarkson to earn her 80th Billboard No. 1 after last week’s prediction that it would happen today, you can exhale. The very first American Idol moves to the top of the Hot Dance Club Play chart with her current hit, “Catch My Breath.” It’s her third consecutive No. 1 on this chart, following “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” and “Dark Side.” This is the first No. 1 rank for “Breath.” Thanks to her latest single, Clarkson is the first Idol to reach a total of 80 No. 1s and she gives the franchise its 372nd Billboard chart-topper, a run that began with Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This” in October 2002.
“A Moment Like This” has long held the record as the series’ most successful coronation song, but that title now belongs to Phillip Phillips’ “Home,” which captures its seventh crown this week as it moves to No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary song in its 21st week on the list. This ups the grand total of Idol No. 1s to 373. “Home” has already been No. 1 on Rock Digital Songs, Hot Digital Songs, Hot Digital Tracks, Triple A, Triple A Audience and Adult Top 40. “Home” first topped a chart the week of June 9, 2012, so its status as a No. 1 song now stretches out over eight months.
Add in Phillips’ four-week reign on Top Rock Albums with The World from the Side of the Moon and his grand total of chart-topers stands at eight, placing him in a tie with David Cook and Kimberley Locke for 11th place among all Idols who have had No. 1s in Billboard.
That’s fitting because Phillips is the first Idol to achieve pole position on the AC chart with a debut single since Cook did it in 2008 with “The Time of My Life,” which stayed on top for 15 weeks. Locke has also triumphed in the AC format, reaching the No. 1 spot with three different singles.
'CRYING' GOES RECURRENT: At least, not on the Hot Country Songs chart, where Casey James “Crying on a Suitcase” has fallen off the list. That might sound like bad news for the season nine finalist, but don’t jump to conclusions.
Songs that have been around a long time can be removed from current Billboard charts but if they are still collecting sufficient airplay, they can be moved to tallies known as recurrent charts. And that’s where James’ “Suitcase” has traveled -- right to No. 1 on the Country Songs Recurrents list.
This is the first chart that James has topped, making him the 34th Idol contestant to be No. 1 on a Billboard chart. “Crying on a Suitcase” is the 374th chart-topper for the franchise.
While James’ single has moved to recurrent status on this particular chart, it’s still very current on other Billboard surveys, including the Hot 100, where it’s up 98-95, Heatseekers Songs, where it advances 11-10 and Country Airplay, where it moves up one notch to No. 15, establishing a new peak position.
BITS AND PIECES: Phillip Phillips’ “Home” continues to achieve new heights, as noted above, but there’s more good news for the season 11 champ. His follow-up single, “Gone, Gone, Gone,” is off to a terrific start, with a 43-25 leap on the Rock Songs chart, where it makes the greatest digital sales gain of any song on the list … Jason Castro’s new release, Only a Mountain, enters the Top Christian Albums chart at No. 14, while the single of the same name re-enters Christian Digital Songs at No. 23 … Colton Dixon’s “You Are” surges 33-21 on Christian Digital Songs … Fantasia’s “Lose to Win” makes more progress on the Adult R&B chart, where it’s up 20-17… Carrie Underwood’s “Two Black Cadillacs” could make two top 10 breakthroughs next week. The single is up 13-11 on the Country Airplay chart and 15-11 on Country Digital Songs.