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'American Idol' on the Charts: Kristy Lee Cook Aims High with 'Airborne Ranger Infantry'

Signed to hot indie label Broken Bow, the season seven finalist returns to the country chart after a four-year absence with a song inspired by her father’s time in the military. Plus: Carrie Underwood is moving on up on Christian Digital Songs.

Kristy Lee Cook Airborne Ranger Infantry cd art P

AIRPLAY FOR 'AIRBORNE': Kristy Lee Cook made her Billboard chart debut four years ago, after finishing in seventh place on the seventh season of American Idol. Signed to Arista after her run on the Fox-TV series, Cook peaked on Hot Country Songs at No. 28 in November 2008 with her single “15 Minutes of Shame.” The parent album, Why Wait, sailed to No. 8 on Top Country Albums and No. 49 on The Billboard 200.

Still, it was a promising start, just like the one Cook had when she first signed to Arista as a 17-year-old. Then, for the second time, she was dropped from the label. For some artists, that might have been a career-ending calamity. But not Cook. She maintained a high profile by starring in a reality series, Goin’ Country, and in October 2010 she signed to the hot independent label Broken Bow Records, the imprint that is also home to country artists Jason Aldean and Dustin Lynch.

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This week, Cook returns to the Billboard charts for the first time since her post-Idol run. “Airborne Ranger Infantry,” her emotional single based on poems written by her father about his time in the military, debuts at No. 60 on the Country Airplay chart.

Cook is the only season seven finalist to register on the country charts, but not the only Idol in the series 11-year history. She’s one of a dozen, joining Kelly Clarkson, Josh Gracin, Carrie UnderwoodKellie Pickler, Bucky Covington, Phil Stacey, Danny Gokey, Michael Sarver, Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina and Skylar Laine.

STILL RISING AFTER ALL THESE YEARS: It’s a good week to be a song by Carrie Underwood on the Christian Digital Songs chart. Years after they were released, three hits from her vast repertoire have found new life and are rebounding. Leading the way is a song that debuted on The Billboard Hot 100 exactly four years ago this week. “Temporary Home” enjoys the biggest resurgence, with a mighty leap from 27-13. Also returning to the top 20 is a song that first charted seven years ago this month. “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” Underwood’s first single after her coronation song, “Inside Your Heaven,” makes a 22-18 move. Completing the hat trick is Underwood’s live Grand Ole Opry recording of “How Great Thou Art,” which takes a slight uptick, from 42-41.

STORY: 'American Idol' Finalists: Where Are They Now?

Underwood is not the only Idol with songs reversing course on Christian Digital Songs. “Good Morning” by Mandisa featuring tobyMac is up 10-8 while Mandisa’s earlier single, “Stronger,” gains new strength, traveling 40-38.

BITS AND PIECES: Armageddon, the new album by Australian Idol Guy Sebastian, falls 2-7 in its second week on the album chart down under but sells enough copies to be certified gold… Looks like Phillip Phillips is just one week away from collecting his fourth No. 1 with the single “Home.” His finale victory tune has already topped Rock Digital Songs, Hot Digital Songs and Hot Digital Tracks. This week, the single jumps 4-2 on the Triple A (Adult Album Alternative) chart… Kelly Clarkson’s “Catch My Breath” leaps 32-22 on the Adult Top 40 chart, making the biggest gain of any song on the list… On that same chart, Daughtry’s “Start Of Something Good” continues to rise every week, this time hiking 36-34.

Twitter: @Idol_Worship