'American Idol' on the Charts: Phillip Phillips' 'Home' is Top Digital Seller, Carrie Underwood's 'Blown Away' Builds
Two winners of the Fox show see big sales gains on the heels of skyrocketing singles, while alums Adam Lambert and Michael Lynche reach new peaks.
If running up the Billboard charts were an Olympic event, Phillip Phillips would be collecting three gold medals today. Thanks to some valuable musical exposure on NBC’s broadcast of the summer games for his American Idol coronation song “Home,” Phillips’ tune races 47-1 on the Hot Digital Songs chart, 44-1 on the Hot Digital Tracks chart and 10-1 on Rock Digital Songs.
When “Home” debuted on the digital songs survey the week of June 9, it was a new entry at No. 2, unable to displace what has turned out to be the biggest song of 2012 to date, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” (currently in its ninth week atop the Hot 100). From there, “Home” began a descent that wasn’t reversed until this week.
“Home” debuted on the Rock Digital Songs chart at No. 1, so this is a return to pole position. Until this week, that was Phillips’ only Billboard No. 1. Now he has three under his belt. Meanwhile, over on the Hot 100, “Home” also moves to a loftier spot. The song entered the pop singles chart at No. 10 and then went into a fall, until it disappeared from the tally. Last week, “Home” resurfaced at No. 84, and this week, in its sixth aggregate week on the chart, it rockets to No. 9, besting its previous peak position. That is the biggest leap into the top 10 of the Hot 100 since November 2011, when “Make Me Proud” by Drake featuring Nicki Minaj blasted its way from 97-9.
All of Phillips’ swift moves are on Billboard charts that measure sales, so how is he doing when it comes to airplay? “Home” is especially favored by the Adult Top 40 format (also known as Hot AC), where the song climbs 21-20 with a bullet in its eighth week on the chart.
Another Idol making major chart moves this week is Carrie Underwood, whose song “Blown Away” is building to hurricane strength. An eight-point jump on the Country Digital Songs chart brings the second single from the Blown Away album to No. 3. But the math is more impressive on the Hot Digital Songs chart, where the title track from Underwood’s fourth album soars 54-20. Like Phillips, Underwood also is doing well with airplay. “Blown Away” climbs 24-20 with a bullet on the airplay-only Hot Country Songs list. If the song can go all the way, it will be Underwood’s 13th No. 1 on this chart. Her first was “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” which ruled for six weeks in 2006. Earlier this year she collected her 12th No. 1 with “Good Girl,” the first single from Blown Away. In the six years that Underwood has been charting, no other solo female artist comes close to her run of No. 1 hits. In that same time span, Taylor Swift is runner-up, with six chart-toppers to her credit.
While Phillips and Underwood found themselves on the Billboard charts right after their respective wins on Idol, some contestants have taken more time to jump from the TV series to the charts. Kimberly Caldwell, a season two finalist in 2003, made her Billboard debut in February 2011 with the dance single “Desperate Girls & Stupid Boys.” Season three’s Leah LaBelle has also waited eight years for a hit. Her single on the Epic label, “Sexify,” has earned berths this year on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart as well as the Adult R&B list (where it slides from 24-27 in its sixth week).
Also doing well on the Adult R&B chart is a season nine finalist enjoying his first taste of Billboard success. Michael Lynche (a.k.a. “Big Mike) reaches a new peak position with his first single, “Who’s Gonna Love You More,” as it advances 28-26 with a bullet. The song also makes its debut on the Bubbling Under Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs at No. 20, suggesting it could enter the big chart next week.
So far, the Whitney Houston and Jordin Sparks' collaboration, “Celebrate,” has not been burning up the charts. However, a 54-51 move on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs brings the cut from the Sparkle soundtrack to its highest position to date. Next week could see it make the top half of the chart in what will be its 11th week on the survey. All of this chart action is taking place before the Aug. 17 release of the musical, so don’t count “Celebrate” out yet, as moviegoers might be enthusiastic enough to purchase a download as a souvenir of their cinematic experience.
Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” topped 12 different Billboard charts, more tallies than any other single by the first American Idol. Now she is aiming to collect her first No. 1 with the follow-up, “Dark Side.” That song waltzes 3-2 this week on the Hot Dance Club Play chart, making it a heavy favorite to land in first place just seven days from now. Clarkson isn’t the only Idol in the top 10 on Hot Dance Club Play: Adam Lambert’s “Never Close Our Eyes” improves 14-10.