'MOON' SHINES: The World from the Side of the Moon is the 11th album by an American Idol winner to debut on the Billboard charts over a span of nine years, five months and three weeks. The set by Phillip Phillips is the ninth to debut in the top 10 of The Billboard 200 and the seventh to debut in the top five. While Moon begins at No. 4 on the main album chart (selling 169,000 copies, according to label 19 Entertainment/Interscope Records), it debuts at No. 1 on Top Rock Albums, making Phillips the first Idol winner to top this chart and the second Idol finalist. Daughtry (with season four’s fourth-place Chris Daughtry) has led this list twice; the band’s self-titled debut release began a 14-week reign the week of Dec. 9, 2006, and the follow-up, Leave This Town, ruled for one week on the chart dated Aug. 1, 2009.
Heading up the Rock Albums chart means that Phillips collects his sixth Billboard No. 1 this week, after achieving pole position on five surveys with the single “Home.” Phillips gives the Idol franchise its 370th Billboard chart-topper. To date, Home” has seen sales of over 2.5 million making it the most successful coronation song of any American Idol winner.
Moon rises on a couple of other charts besides The Billboard 200 and Top Rock Albums. On Top Digital Albums, the set is new at No. 2. And on Top Internet Albums, Phillips enters at No. 5.
While “Home” continues to do well, returning to No. 1 on Rock Digital Songs, spending a third week at No. 1 on the Triple A tally, climbing to No. 2 on Adult Top 40 and jumping 12-8 on the Hot 100, a new Phillips song makes its debut this week, on three charts. “Gone, Gone, Gone” (not the Everly Brothers tune of the same name) is not a single yet, but it will be the folliow-up to “Home” and it is new at No. 12 on Bubbling Under the Hot 100, No. 21 on Rock Digital Songs and No. 69 on Hot Digital Songs.
Meanwhile, how does the debut of The World from the Side of the Moon compare to the 10 previous Idol winner first albums when it comes to entering The Billboard 200? Here is a list, in chronological order, of the 11 titles, along with debut dates and first week positions:
Debut Date: Title, Artist, (First Week Position)
May 3, 2003: Thankful, Kelly Clarkson (No. 1)
Dec. 27, 2003: Soulful, Ruben Studdard (No. 1)
Dec. 11, 2004: Free Yourself, Fantasia (No. 8)
Dec. 3, 2005: Some Hearts, Carrie Underwood (No. 2)
Dec. 30, 2006: Taylor Hicks, Taylor Hicks (No. 2)
Dec. 8, 2007: Jordin Sparks, Jordin Sparks (No. 10)
Dec. 6, 2008: David Cook, David Cook (No. 3)
Dec. 5, 2009: Kris Allen, Kris Allen (No. 11)
Dec. 4, 2010: Live It Up, Lee DeWyze (No. 19)
Oct. 22, 2011: Clear as Day, Scotty McCreery (No. 1)
Dec. 8, 2012: The World from the Side of the Moon, Phillip Phillips (No. 4)
Getting into the minutiae of chart trivia, one might notice a pattern in those 11 album titles. The first two were one word each, the next six had two-word titles, then there were two three-word titles, followed by Phillips’ longest title yet for an Idol winner’s debut album, at eight words. At this rate, the season-12 winner will have to come up with a Fiona Apple-length title for their first release.
LAST NAME EVER, FIRST NAME 'GREATEST': In the same week that season 11’s winner has an album debut, season one’s champion also has a new set entering The Billboard 200. Kelly Clarkson, the first American Idol to release a greatest hits set, sees her collection bow at No. 11. On Top Internet Albums, the greatest hits CD is new at No. 3. The first single from this album, “Catch My Breath,” takes a big hike on the Hot 100, jumping 74-57 with a bullet. At the same time, a song aimed at the country market, “Don’t Rush” (a collaboration with Vince Gill), rises 42-40 on the Country Airplay chart.
THE COUPLE THAT CHARTS TOGETHER...: Season 10’s Paul McDonald charted last year as part of the Grand Magnolias. Now he’s finally on the Billboard charts under his own name. His EP, The Best Part, recorded with wife Nikki Reed, is No. 45 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart. Their duet, “All I’ve Ever Needed,” spends a second week on a No. 1 album, as The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn: Part 2 is once again in first place on Top Soundtracks.
HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY 'IDOL' CHRISTMAS: During this most wonderful time of the year, seasonal songs work their way onto various Billboard charts and even have their own tallies, including Top Holiday Albums and Holiday Digital Songs.
As they do every year, Idols are owning their fair share of the fa-la-la-la action. The big winner this week is Jordin Sparks, whose recording of “Do You Hear What I Hear?” surges 25-15 on the Adult Contemporary chart. Elsewhere, Carrie Underwood’s “The First Noel” enters Holiday Digital Songs at No. 36.
Mandisa’s It’s Christmas: Christmas Angel Edition rockets 178-85 on The Billboard 200 and jumps 36-14 on the Top Pop Catalog Albums chart while her single “It’s Christmas” debuts at No. 42 on the Christian Songs chart. Jason Castro’s "Gloria (Hark! The Herald Angels Sing/Angels We Have Heard On High)" debuts at No. 35 on the Christian Songs chart and Scotty McCreery’s Christmas with Scotty McCreery rebounds 24-21 on The Billboard 200 while his single “Christmas in Heaven” is up 37-35 on Holiday Digital Songs.
BITS AND PIECES: Underwood’s new single, “Two Black Cadillacs,” motors up the Hot Country Songs chart with a 49-37 hike, while the parent album Blown Away moves back up the Top Country Albums list, 8-3… Casey James’ “Crying on a Suitcase” is still vying for a berth on the Hot 100, rising 10-9 on the Bubbling Under the Hot 100 chart… Frenchie Davis’ "Love's Got A Hold On Me" jumps 29-24 with a bullet on the Hot Dance Club Play chart… Kimberley Locke’s “Finally Free” rebounds 37-36 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart.