The top two "American Idol" contestants capture the top two spots on Billboard's Hot 100, as Clay Aiken's "This Is the Night" (RCA) debuts at No. 1 and Ruben Studdard's "Flying Without Wings" (J Recor
The top two "American Idol" contestants capture the top two spots on Billboard's Hot 100, as Clay Aiken's "This Is the Night" (RCA) debuts at No. 1 and Ruben Studdard's "Flying Without Wings" (J Records) opens at No. 2. It's the first time in the 45-year history of the Hot 100 that the top two positions are new entries.
Aiken's "This Is the Night" is the first song to debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100 since 1998, and the first since chart rules were changed to allow airplay-only tracks to appear on the chart alongside commercially released singles. Those new chart policies make it almost impossible for a song to enter the chart in pole position, or in the top-5, but the massive sales on the two "Idol" singles made their historic debuts possible.
Aiken's single sold nearly 393,000 copies and Studdard's single moved nearly 286,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan. "This Is the Night" boasts the biggest one-week sales figures since Elton John's "Candle in the Wind 1997."
Aiken was the runner-up on "American Idol," with just 130,000 votes out of 25 million separating him from Studdard's first-place finish. The winner was guaranteed a recording contract, but Aiken didn't know he would also have a record deal until he heard judge Simon Cowell announce on the series' finale that he and Studdard would have their singles released on the same day.
"This Is the Night" is the second No. 1 single by an "American Idol" contestant. Kelly Clarkson, winner of the series' first season competition, spent two weeks on top of the Hot 100 in October 2002 with "A Moment Like This" (RCA). Clarkson shares a No. 1 position this week in Billboard with Aiken, as her song "Miss Independent" moves to No. 1 on Billboard's Top 40 Tracks chart, which measures airplay at top 40 radio.
The Aiken and Studdard singles debut at No. 1 and No. 2 on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles Sales tally. The artists also appear on the No. 3 entry, the American Idol Finalists' "God Bless the U.S.A.," which had been No. 1 for eight weeks.