Answers to readers' questions about the Billboard Music Awards, Carrie Underwood and "High School Musical."

WINNERS AND LOSERS

Keith,

I am in an office of 25 people and for fun, we went to the Fox and Billboard Web sites and handed out ballots based upon the finalists for the Billboard Music Awards. Well there are nine categories that we can't find the answers to anywhere. Can you give me the answers to them? The winner gets a prize. I really appreciate it.

Marc Ferruzzo
Houston


Hello Marc,

I apologize for the serious lack of clarity about who won what award.
Because of how the Fox network's "Billboard Music Awards" show is structured, they (along with the producers of the broadcast) are free to pick and choose which categories and winners they would like to showcase on their show. Billboard itself does not produce the show and it only has a certain amount of creative control over how it is presented.

The problem is that if Fox's show chooses not to highlight a category (or show it on air, or mention it in a press release) then Billboard can't release that information until our Year In Music issue hits newsstands and Billboard.com. That Year In Music issue will have all of the winners in all of our hundreds of year-end categories. Why do we wait so long? Because we don't want to release all of the winners until our magazine actually comes out.

So, when does that Year In Music issue come out? On Friday, Dec. 15. So, make sure to check back with Billboard.com on Dec. 15 to find out who was tops in every genre of music that Billboard charts -- from the Hot 100 to Classical and from Reggae to Blues.

Hopefully your office pool isn't too upset with you (or us!).




HIGH SCHOOL HONORS


Keith,

Two questions about the "High School Musical" soundtrack:

1. If the "Billboard Music Awards" recognizes the top-selling album of the year, why did Carrie Underwood win over the "High School Musical"
soundtrack?

2. Does "High School Musical" cast member Zac Efron get the "award" for appearing on the most singles in a year but not actually singing on them?

Eric Walters
Staten Island, N.Y.


Hello Eric,

Here are your answers two your two questions:

1. Our year-end charts (which are the basis for the "Billboard Music
Awards") are based on the performances of artists, songs and albums on our charts from mid-November of 2005 through mid-November 2006.

For that time period, Underwood's "Some Hearts" was the album that sold the most units while charting on The Billboard 200 albums chart. It is very true that the "High School Musical" album is (so far) 2006's top-selling album.
But, for the purposes of our year-end charts (which have always run on a November-November cycle), Underwood came out on top.

2. Har har. Efron does indeed perform some vocals on the "High School Musical" album, as well as two of the singles that reached The Billboard Hot 100 this year ("Breaking Free" and "Start Of Something New"). On the album itself, it only credits the songs to the characters names ¬ thus, a tune like "Breaking Free" would be billed to "Troy and Gabriella" (not Efron and co-star Vanessa Hudgens).

But, Billboard wanted to bill the correct real-life singers on our charts, so, we initially credited "Breaking Free" to Efron and Hudgens, since they played Troy and Gabriella. But then, a week after the songs had debuted on the Hot 100, we realized that most of "Troy's" vocals were provided by another performer, Andrew Seeley.

So, we then immediately gave Seeley proper credit on our charts. We either removed Efron's artist credit from a song entirely where he didn't sing (like on "Get'cha Head In The Game") or gave Seeley co-credit on songs where Efron did provide some vocals (like "Breaking Free").

Seeley is actually on a concert tour with the "High School Musical" cast, performing songs sung by "Troy" in the movie. So it's not like anyone is hiding the fact (well, now, at least) that Seeley played a major role in the soundtrack and the movie.

Meanwhile, Efron wasn't able to take part in the concert tour, as he is busy filming the big screen adaptation of the Broadway musical "Hairspray."



UNDERWOOD UNDERDOG

Hi there,

Carrie Underwood is my favorite "American Idol" and I think that she is being dis-serviced.

It used to be said that Clay Aiken had sold more than any "Idol" with his debut (more than Kelly Clarkson's and Ruben Studdard's debuts put together).

Now I have been following Fred Bronson's Chart Beat column and it seems that Carrie' "Some Hearts" debut at 4 million-plus is the top debut.

Why isn't anyone giving her credit? She is clearly the most talented "Idol" to win. She can sing all of her songs live and on pitch (hello Kelly?) and she's not doing cheesy remake albums (Clay). Can you confirm my thoughts about her debut?

Thank you,
Alex McAfee
Santa Fe, N.M.


Hi Alex,

After the kind of awards-laden, chart-topping year Carrie Underwood has had, I doubt anyone is trying to give her short shrift.

Underwood indeed has the biggest selling debut album from an "Idol," with
3.96 million sold of "Some Hearts" so far. The runner-up is Clay Aiken's "Measure Of A Man" with 2.76 million.

Though, the biggest selling "Idol" album, period, is Kelly Clarkson's "Breakway," which has sold 5.58 million.