Scotty McCreery Breaks the 'Idol' Curse

Mike Coppola/Getty Images

The season 10 winner sells nearly 200,000 albums in a week, more than in Lee DeWyze's entire career.

Executives at Universal Music Group breathed a collective sigh of relief Oct. 11. That's when the sales numbers came in on American Idol season 10 winner Scotty McCreery's debut album, Clear as Day, the first full-length release to emerge from the company's partnership with TV's No. 1 show. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the album from the 18-year-old North Carolina native moved 196,739 copies in its first week out, some 50,000 more than season nine winner Lee DeWyze sold during his entire Idol tenure under the Sony Music umbrella. "Nobody had a clue what to expect," says Brian Wright, head of A&R at Mercury Nashville, the label that signed the deep-voiced McCreery. "We're absolutely thrilled." Credit resilient country music fans, who continue to buy physical product, along with a youthful fan base. Wright is taking cues from the marketing of another Idol alum: Carrie Underwood. "She did a great job embracing the Nashville community, and I knew that was the key," he says. The showing bodes well for Idol runner-up Lauren Alaina, whose album Wildflower came out a week later, also on Mercury Nashville (sales figures weren't available at press time). Jokes Wright, "I've already looked at 196,000 and thought, 'Geez, now we have to beat that.' "