Week Ending May 19, 2013. Songs: Idol’s Diminishing Returns
American Idol winner Candice Glover’s coronation song “I Am Beautiful” enters the Hot 100 at #93. That’s the lowest chart debut ever for a coronation song by an Idol winner. That title was formerly held by Season 1 winner Kelly Clarkson, whose “A Moment Like This” debuted at #60. (It shot to #1 in its third week.) Every other coronation song has debuted in the top 30.
Six of them, from Ruben Studdard’s “Flying Without Wings” to Phillip Phillips’ “Home”, have debuted in the top 10. Nine have debuted in the top 15. The only other one (besides “I Am Beautiful” and “A Moment Like This”) to fail to debut in the top 15 was Lee DeWyze’s cover of U2’s “Beautiful Day” (#24).
“I Am Beautiful” sold just 48K copies in the week following the show’s finale. That’s the lowest first-week sales tally for the coronation song by an Idol winner since Taylor Hicks’ “Do I Make You Proud” started with sales of 38K in 2006—when overall digital sales were much lower than they are today.
By contrast, Phillips’ “Home” started with sales of 278K copies last year, which set a new record for the fastest start for an Idol winner’s coronation song. (The previous record was held by David Cook’s “The Time Of My Life,” which started with sales of 236K in 2008.
The decline in Idol’s ratings and buzz-worthiness in the past season (and really the past several seasons) is doubtless the main reason for the soft opening.
“I Am Beautiful” debuts at #39 on Hot Digital Songs. That’s the lowest debut position for an Idol winner’s coronation song since that chart originated in 2004.
Singles by two of the judges from this past season of Idol are faring better on the Hot 100 than the coronation song by the winner. Mariah Carey’s “#Beautiful” (featuring Miguel) jumps from #24 to #20 in its second week. Nicki Minaj’s “High School” (featuring Lil Wayne) jumps from #94 to #78 in its seventh week. (The song has already climbed to #68.) A third judge from Season 12, Keith Urban, debuts one rung behind Glover (at #94) with “Little Bit Of Everything.”
Runner-up Kree Harrison’s “All Cried Out,” which would have been her coronation song had she won, sold 24K copies. It enters Hot Digital Songs at #85. It doesn’t enter the Hot 100.