Chart Watch Extra: Idol vs. Idol
Who's the biggest recording star to come out of American Idol? I really think we should call it a tie. Carrie Underwood has sold more albums, but Kelly Clarkson has sold more individual songs. Just this week, Clarkson's #1 smash "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" pulled ahead of Underwood's 2007 hit "Before He Cheats" to become the best-selling song by an Idol alumnus. "Stronger" has sold 3,510,000 copies, 1K more than Underwood's sassy revenge fantasy.
(Want to know what's in third place? It's "No Air," the melodramatic 2008 collabo by Jordin Sparks & Chris Brown, which has sold 3,437,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, which tracks sales for Billboard.)
Three other Clarkson songs have sold more than 2 million copies: Her sassy 2009 hit "My Life Would Suck Without You" (2,641,000); her turbo-charged 2005 smash "Since U Been Gone" (2,487,000) and "Don't You Wanna Stay," her award-winning 2011 collabo with country star Jason Aldean (2,105,000).
Underwood has only one other song that has topped the 2 million mark: her 2006 hit "Jesus, Take The Wheel" (2,030,000). The song was Underwood's first #1 on the Hot Country Songs chart and brought her the first of her five Grammys.
Clarkson has four songs whose current sales tallies are between 1.5 million and 2 million: her 2009 hit "Already Gone" (1,766,000); her 2004 hit "Breakaway" (1,733,000); her 2005 hit "Because Of You" (1,698,000) and her 2011 hit "Mr. Know-It-All" (1,593,000).
Underwood has three songs whose current sales tallies are in the 1.5-2 million range: Her 2009 hit "Cowboy Casanova" (1,864,000); "Remind Me," her 2011 collabo with her frequent CMA Awards co-host Brad Paisley (1,577,000) and her 2008 hit "All American Girl" (1,548,000).
Album sales are where Underwood leads the Idol pack. Underwood has sold 13,205,000 albums to date, compared to 11,664,000 for Clarkson. Underwood's best-selling album is her first, Some Hearts, which has sold 7,214,000 copies. Clarkson's biggest is her second, Breakaway, which has sold 6,237,000 copies.
Underwood's first three albums have all topped 2 million. Her fourth, Blown Away, has sold 622K copies in its first nine weeks.