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'American Idol' on the Charts: Colton Dixon Kicks Off Solo Career With a Pair of No. 1s

"Never Gone" debuts in the top spot on two digital songs charts. Also: fellow season 11 alum Joshua Ledet is having a long run on R&B albums with his "Idol" highlights EP.

Colton Dixon Never Gone cd cover P

SINCE HE’S BEEN ‘GONE’: This is the way to begin your run on the Billboard charts: Colton Dixon’s first single doesn’t just debut on the Christian Digital Songs survey; it enters the list at No. 1. The same holds true for the combined Christian/Gospel Digital Songs chart, giving Dixon a pair of No. 1s in his very first chart week.

"Never Gone," released on the same EMI-owned Sparrow label that is home to Mandisa, is the third single by an Idol to achieve pole position on Christian Digital Songs, following Kris Allen’s “Live Like We’re Dying” (24 weeks at No. 1 in 2010) and Carrie Underwood’s “How Great Thou Art” (one week at No. 1 in 2011).

Dixon is the 32nd Idol to have a No. 1 hit on a Billboard chart and is the 68th finalist to see his name appear on one of the magazine’s surveys. “Never Gone” is the 358th and 359th Billboard No. 1 for the Idol franchise and the first chart-topper of the series’ second decade on the charts (the first Idol No. 1 was “A Moment Like This” by Kelly Clarkson on the Hot 100 dated Oct. 5, 2002).

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Dixon helps prove the adage that you don’t have to win American Idol to be successful. The blond-haired singer from Murfreesboro, Tenn., placed seventh. The previous seventh-place finalists who have charted are Kimberly Caldwell from season two, Jennifer Hudson from season three, Ace Young from season five and Kristy Lee Cook from season seven. Hudson is the only other seventh-place finalist to reach No. 1 on a Billboard chart.

Dixon is the sixth finalist from Season 11 to chart, following Phillip Phillps, Jessica Sanchez, Joshua Ledet, Hollie Cavanagh and Skylar Laine. Only five of the series’ 11 seasons have produced more chart-bound Idols, and season 11 only concluded five months ago. Here is a list of the seasons in order of how many Idols have charted from each year:

9 Idols: season five

8 Idols: season three

7 Idols: season six, season seven, season ten

6 Idols: season eight, season 11

5 Idols: season one, season two 

4 Idols: season four, season nine

LEDET’S LUCKY 13: It’s become a tradition for the top five finalists to release season highlights EPs after each year’s American Idol season finale, but these sets generally have short chart lives. One of this year’s longest-lasting EPs is the one by third-place Joshua Ledet. His EP, which debuted and peaked at No. 9 in July, is in its 13th week on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. Ledet’s highlights set includes his versions of James Brown’s “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World” and Percy Sledge’s “When a Man Loves a Woman,” studio recordings of two of his show-stopping performances from season 11, plus a duet with Phillip Phillips on the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.”

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BITS AND PIECES: “Battle Scars” by Lupe Fiasco and Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian re-enters the Rap Digital Songs chart at No. 21… Casey Abrams’ “Get Out” has been enjoying a run on the Adult Contemporary chart; this week the song debuts at No. 40 on the Adult Top 40 tally… Mandisa’s What If We Were Real spends a third consecutive week at No. 10 on the Top Christian Albums chart… Carrie Underwood’s Blown Away rebounds to No. 3 on the Top Country Albums chart while the title song rises to a new peak position of No. 4 on Hot Country Songs… Casey James’ “Crying on a Suitcase” rises 27-25 with a bullet, achieving a new peak position on Hot Country Songs. His first single, “Let’s Don’t Call It a Night,” peaked at No. 21 in April… Phillip Phillips’ “Home” breaks into the top 10 on another Billboard chart, with a 13-10 lift on the Triple A (Adult Album Alternative) tally. The song has the biggest gain in airplay of any song on the list.

Twitter: @Idol_Worship