Scotty McCreery: How Does He Rank Among ‘Idol’ Debuts?

Country crooner's Clear As Day tops the Billboard charts, but how does he size up against other 'Idol' champs?

December 14, 2003. That was the date Ruben Studdard‘s Soulful opened at #1 on the Billboard albums chart. And somewhat incredibly, it’s also the last time a debut disc from an “American Idol” champion accomplished the feat.

Sure, there have been some near-misses along the way, but since Studdard, none have been able to bow at #1, a streak that spanned some 2,859 days (or 4,116,960 minutes, in case you were counting).

It’s also a streak that officially came to an end on Wednesday (October 12), with the rather eye-opening #1 debut by “Idol” season 10 champion Scotty McCreery, whose Clear As Day sold nearly 197,000 copies to take the top spot. It’s the highest first-week number for an “American Idol” winner since David Cook sold almost 280,000 copies of his self-titled debut in 2008 and, given the recent lack of chart success from “Idol” champs, it’s an even more impressive feat.

Because, while some “Idol” also-rans (Clay Aiken, Chris Daughtry, Adam Lambert, etc.) have managed to move units, the contemporary crop of champions have suffered poor first-week sales. Thanks to the support of the country music crowd, McCreery has managed to buck that trend. But where, exactly, do Clear As Day‘s first-week numbers rank among the debuts by other “American Idol” winners? We’ve crunched the figures, along with the chart positions, below:

» Ruben Studdard, Soulful, 2003: 416,569 (#1 debut)
» Carrie Underwood, Some Hearts, 2005: 314,549 (#2)
» Taylor Hicks, Taylor Hicks, 2006: 298,199 (#2)
» Kelly Clarkson, Thankful, 2003: 297,381 (#1)
» David Cook, David Cook, 2008: 279,578 (#3)
» Fantasia Barrino, Free Yourself, 2004: 239,589 (#8)
» Scotty McCreery, Clear As Day, 2011: 196,739 (#1)
» Jordin Sparks, Jordin Sparks, 2007: 119,119 (#10)
» Kris Allen, Kris Allen, 2009: 80,072 (#11)
» Lee DeWyze, Live It Up, 2010: 38,581 (#19)