Chart Watch Extra: Phillips Takes Idol Title
Phillip Phillips’ “Home” this week surpasses Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” to become the best-selling song ever released by an American Idol alumnus. “Home” has sold 4,262,000 digital copies. “Stronger” has sold 4,245,000.
“Stronger” wore the Idol sales crown for about eight months. It surpassed Carrie Underwood’s “Before He Cheats” on July 1, 2012. Underwood’s smash held the title for nearly five years. It surpassed Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” on Aug. 19, 2007. While those three other hits are all sassy and up-tempo, “Home” echoes the rootsy folk-pop sound of Mumford & Sons.
“Home” was Phillips’ “coronation song” on Idol in May, when he was declared the Season 11 winner. The song entered the Hot 100 at #10 in June. It then tumbled down the chart, but got its second wind after NBC featured the song during its coverage of the Summer Olympics in August. The week after the Olympics, it rebounded from #84 to #9. It finally peaked at #6 in January.
The strong showing by “Home” is especially noteworthy because Idol’s ratings have been trending down in recent years. At least 30 million viewers watched the season finale for four straight years (Seasons 4 through Season 7). Fewer than 30 million viewers have watched the season finale the last four years. According to Nielsen, 21.49 million viewers watched the season finale in May, which made it the least-watched finale in Idol history. (The most-watched finale was the Season 2 showdown between Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken, which was watched by 38.06 million viewers.)
While “Home” has drawn frequent comparisons to Mumford & Sons, it has done better than any of that British group’s hits. Mumford & Sons’ best-selling song is “Little Lion Man” (2,326,000). Its highest-charting hit is “I Will Wait” (#12).
“Before He Cheats” is now in third place among songs by Idol alums, with sales of 3,735,000. “No Air” by Sparks & Chris Brown is in fourth place, with sales of 3,531,000.