Lady Gaga Releases Holiday EP
Lady Gaga Releases Holiday EP

Ask Billboard is updated every week. As always, submit your questions about Billboard charts, sales and airplay, as well as general music musings, to askbb@billboard.com. Please include your first and last name, as well as your city, state and country, if outside the U.S.

THIS ... IS 'AMERICAN IDOL' ... WINNING SONG SALES

Dear Gary,

It's been almost 10 years since Kelly Clarkson won the first season of "American Idol" and her debut single, "A Moment Like This," was released.

Since then, each year's champion has released a debut song that he or she performed on the season finale episode after being crowned the winner. My question is, which winning "Idol" singles have sold the most?

Thank you,

Jeremy Mesich

Hi Jeremy,

With the 11th season of "Idol" starting Wednesday (Jan. 18), let's recap the sales (digital and physical combined, where applicable) of each coronation song dating to Clarkson's "Moment," according to Nielsen SoundScan:

549,000, "A Moment Like This," Kelly Clarkson, 2002
788,000
, "Flying Without Wings," Ruben Studdard, 2003
555,000, "I Believe," Fantasia, 2004
870,000, "Inside Your Heaven," Carrie Underwood, 2005
701,000, "Do I Make You Proud," Taylor Hicks, 2006

329,000, "This Is My Now," Jordin Sparks, 2007
1,435,000, "The Time of My Life," David Cook, 2008
340,000, "No Boundaries," Kris Allen, 2009
182,000, "Beautiful Day," Lee DeWyze, 2010
755,000, "I Love You This Big," Scotty McCreery, 2011

Last year's victor Scotty McCreery lays claim to the fourth-biggest winning "Idol" single and the top seller since David Cook's "The Time of My Life." No surprise that radio play made a difference, as, unlike Kris Allen and Lee DeWyze's initial singles, McCreery's "I Love You This Big" found widespread radio support, reaching No. 15 on Country Songs.

(Allen did better with his first album single, "Live Like We're Dying," which climbed to No. 10 on the airplay-based Pop Songs chart and has sold 1.7 million downloads).