He may have been a runner-up on "American Idol," but Clay Aiken is second to none on the Billboard albums chart.
The squeaky-clean singer's debut album, Measure of a Man, sold more than 612,000 copies in its first week, according to SoundScan. Aiken's five-day total (Tuesday-Sunday) falls just under the two-week total by the #2 album, Ludacris' Chicken -N- Beer, which has topped out at 624,000 total copies sold.
The rapper's follow-up to his 2001 release, Word of Mouf, sold more than 193,000 copies last week, hence forfeiting the pole position to Aiken.
Aiken and his fellow "Idol" contestant Ruben Studdard, who eventually won the competition, will have the chance to square off again when Ruben's debut LP, Soulful, drops November 11.
R&B quartet Jagged Edge's fourth album, Hard, will lay claim to the #3 position, selling more than 177,000 copies with aid from the single "Walked Outta Heaven." The group's last LP, Jagged Little Thrill, debuted in the same spot in June 2001, though it sold 37,000 more copies then.
The rest of next week's top 10 albums find Outkast's Speakerboxx/ The Love Below moving down two spots to #4 (167,000) and cracking the 1 million mark in total sales after four weeks; Barbra Streisand's album of cinema soundtracks, Movie Album, bowing in at #5 (162,000); Dido's Life for Rent falling two places to #6 (101,000); Elvis Presley's hits collection 2nd to None slipping four spots to #7 (81,000); Sting's Sacred Love slipping a couple of places to #8 (77,000); Hilary Duff's Metamorphosis holding at #9 (74,000); and Dave Matthews' solo effort, Some Devil, losing half of its ground and falling to #10 (73,000).
Blues guitarist Jonny Lang's fourth album, Long Time Coming, will place at #17 after its first week in stores, while Mariah Carey's Remixes, featuring alternate versions of the hits "Heartbreaker," "Honey" and "Dreamlover," will come in at #26. XIII by masked metal ensemble Mushroomhead will round out the notable top 40 debuts.
Travis' fourth album, 12 Memories, the follow-up to 2001's The Invisible Band, will place at #41, just two slots below the debut spot of its predecessor, 2000's The Man Who, selling 11,000 copies.
Having a #1 film at the box office to accompany it sure helped the soundtrack to "Kill Bill" sell bloody murder at retail. The RZA-flecked LP will jump from #115 to #45 on next week's chart.
Other notable debuts on next week's chart include The Great Holiday Classics with contributions from Aiken, Studdard, Kelly Clarkson, Justin Guarini and others from the "American Idol" series; the Distillers' Coral Fang at #97; Red Star Sounds Presents: Def Jamaica featuring Def Jam artists such as Redman, Method Man, N.O.R.E. and DMX, paired with reggae artists Wayne Wonder, Sean Paul, Beenie Man, Elephant Man and others, at #160; and Raphael Saadiq's live album, All Hits at the House of Blues, at #182.