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'American Idol' on the Charts: For Carrie Underwood, the Sound of Music Is Ka-Ching!

The soundtrack to NBC's live musical event follows in the footsteps of Broadway, film versions. Also: After half a year, Fantasia’s “Without Me” is closing in on No. 1.

The Sound of Music Live! Underwood with Kids - H 2013
"The Sound of Music Live!"

DOWN NONNBERG ABBEY ROAD: Combine hit recording artist Carrie Underwood and a Richard Rodgers/Oscar Hammerstein score and there’s no way you can miss the Billboard charts. The cast recording of NBC’s The Sound of Music makes its debut just one week after the live broadcast, entering The Billboard 200 at No. 17, the Top Soundtracks tally at No. 2 (unable to dislodge Disney’s Frozen) and Top Digital Albums at No. 17.

The two previous major recordings of The Sound of Music both did very well on the Billboard album chart. The Broadway cast LP, released in 1959, spent 16 weeks on top in 1960. The film soundtrack, issued in 1965, replaced another soundtrack at No. 1 -- the Beatles’ Help! -- and remained in pole position for two weeks.

It isn’t just the album that's doing well on this week’s charts. Underwood’s duet with Audra McDonald on “My Favorite Things” debuts at No. 47 on Holiday Digital Songs. This is the second time the song has appeared on this chart in the last two months. In November, Kelly Clarkson’s take on the song, from her album Wrapped in Red, bowed at No. 7.

Idols have charted with the same song before, but for a different reason (and a different season). Season four’s top two -- Underwood and Bo Bice -- both released the coronation song “Inside Your Heaven” in 2005. Underwood’s recording went to No. 1 and Bice’s version peaked at No. 2.

In 2009, Kris Allen and Adam Lambert both recorded the coronation song “No Boundaries” and both versions were released. Allen’s peaked at No. 11 on the Hot 100 and Lambert’s at No. 72.

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DOING ‘WITHOUT’: This is the 26th week on the Adult R&B chart for “Without Me,” the single by Fantasia featuring Kelly Rowland and Missy Elliott. After half a year on the survey, the track springs to a new peak position, jumping 4-2, after seven consecutive weeks at No. 4. That puts the song in reach of first place. If “Without Me” moves up just one rung next week, it will be Fantasia’s fourth Adult R&B chart-topper, following “Truth Is," “Free Yourself” and “Bittersweet.” If the song does ultimately end up peaking at No. 2, it will be Fantasia’s second time topping out in the runner-up spot. “When I See U” reached No. 2 in July 2007.

Fantasia currently has two other songs on the Adult R&B list. “Love & Sex,” a duet with Joe, is down one notch, 16-17, and her new single, “Side Effects of You,” is up 25-23.

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'TREE’ PERSON: Kelly Clarkson’s holiday ode “Underneath the Tree” spends a second week at No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary and Adult Contemporary Audience charts. She has two more songs in the AC top 10: “Blue Christmas” leaps 12-7 and “Please Come Home for Christmas” jumps 13-8.

 “Underneath the Tree” is growing on a number of charts. It soars 34-12 on Holiday Songs, debuts at No. 92 on the Hot 100 and No. 41 on the Canadian Hot 100, rockets 17-6 on Holiday Digital Songs and bows at No. 24 on Pop Digital Songs.

The parent album, Wrapped in Red, rebounds 6-3 on The Billboard 200, climbs 9-6 on Top Internet Albums, advances 9-3 on Top Digital Albums and holds at No. 2 on Holiday Albums.

BITS AND PIECES: Jennifer Hudson’s latest single, “I Can’t Describe (The Way I Feel),” moves up again on Adult R&B, 15-13… Mandisa’s “Overcomer” is No. 1 for the 12th week on Christian Adult Contemporary… Scotty McCreery’s “See You Tonight” takes a 12-point hike, up 42-30 on Country Digital Songs, and his Christmas With Scotty McCreery bounces 8-4 on Top Country Catalog Albums while jumping 165-116 on The Billboard 200… Kellie Pickler’s The Woman I Am travels 31-28 on Top Country Albums and re-enters The Billboard 200 at No. 194, while the single “Little Bit Gypsy” is up 53-50 on Country Airplay.

Twitter: @fredbronson