Ask Billboard: 'Idol'-izing Carrie Underwood, Lauren Alaina
Ask Billboard: 'Idol'-izing Carrie Underwood, Lauren Alaina

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


Hello Gary!

It's been almost six years since Carrie Underwood's debut album, "Some Hearts," was released. Now, she is the "American Idol" singer with the top U.S. album sales and one of the biggest names in country music.

Could you please provide us "Carrie's Care Bears" her up-to-date sales stats?

Thank you,

Matheus Oliveira
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Hi Matheus,

Underwood's to-date U.S. album sales of 12,394,000 place her ahead of Kelly Clarkson (10,702,000) for the title of best-selling "Idol" graduate. Clarkson can close the gap with Monday's release of her fifth album, "Stronger."

Here is a recap of how Underwood's three albums have sold so far:

7,133,000, "Some Hearts"
3,217,000, "Carnival Ride"
2,041,000, "Play On"

... and her top-selling digital tracks, which comprise her 14 top 10s on Country Songs, as well as her "Idol" coronation song "Inside Your Heaven" (which, while a Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 in 2005 on the strength of sales, merely dented Country Songs, reaching No. 52, before she became established as a country artist):

3,314,000, "Before He Cheats"
1,897,000, "Jesus, Take the Wheel"
1,697,000, "Cowboy Casanova"
1,429,000, "All-American Girl"

1,202,000, "Undo It"
1,078,000, "Last Name"
1,069,000, "Remind Me" ( Brad Paisley featuring Underwood)
1,011,000, "Just a Dream"
962,000, "So Small"
891,000, "I Told You So"
777,000, "Temporary Home"
705,000, "Wasted"
442,000, "Mama's Song"
403,000, "Don't Forget to Remember Me"

Next up for Underwood? Working on her fourth album and co-hosting the Country Music Assn. Awards Nov. 9 with reigning Entertainer of the Year winner Paisley.

"I've recorded vocals (for) six songs," she told last month. "It's all about just making the best album that I possibly can. New songs are coming in all the time. I've recently written some stuff I'm really, really excited about."

Carrie's Care Bears will also surely like the ballad "Eighteen Inches" on Lauren Alaina's debut album, "Wildflower." Underwood co-wrote the potential single choice. (The set's new release, following the No. 36-peaking "Like My Mother Does," is the uptempo "Georgia Peaches," while "The Middle" also sounds like a future country hit).

The pair has developed a bond, with Alaina recently reaching out to Underwood for encouragement when she felt homesick.

"I just said, 'How do you deal with being away from your family for so long and just being gone all the time?'," Alaina said, according to an AP report (featuring analysis from Billboard associate director of charts/retail Keith Caulfield!) "And (Underwood) said, 'You have to think about all the positive stuff that's going on, because you have so much going for you right now. Your family will always be there.'

"Just hearing that from her, knowing that she had been through what I'm going through, just made me feel 10 times better," Alaina said.

"(Alaina) is a breath of fresh air in country music today," Underwood responded about her fan-turned-friend.

"I can't wait to see what she'll do in the future."