Ask Billboard: Ke$ha: 'World'-Class Singer/Songwriter

Kesha performs on stage at The Forum on October 28, 2009 in London, England.

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


Hi Gary,

It's been months since I wrote to your column but I follow it online every Friday.


As for your e-mail (I held off on the answer like Ryan Seacrest revealing a contestant's fate), Cowell was correct: Underwood is the best-selling U.S. album artist among "Idol" singers.

Here is an updated ranking of the series' 10 top-selling graduates, by career album sales to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan:

Total Sales, Artist, Year Competed

12.2 million, Carrie Underwood (2005)

10.7 million, Kelly Clarkson (2002)
6.1 million, (Chris) Daughtry (2006)
5 million, Clay Aiken (2003)
2.8 million, Fantasia (2004)
2.6 million, Ruben Studdard (2003)
1.3 million, David Cook (2008)
1.3 million, Kellie Pickler (2006)
1.3 million, Jordin Sparks (2007)
1.1 million, David Archuleta (2008)