"American Idol" 2011 winner Scotty McCreery is poised to become the first "Idol" champ since Ruben Studdard in 2003 (and only third overall) to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart with their first release.
Industry prognosticators suggest McCreery's new album, "Clear As Day," will bow atop the tally next week with perhaps 160,000 to 170,000 copies sold by week's end on Oct. 9.
Studdard was the last winner to start their career in the top slot, when his "Soulful" bowed on the chart dated Dec. 27, 2003, with 417,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Kelly Clarkson, the first "Idol" winner, also premiered at No. 1 with "Thankful" on May 3, 2003 (297,000).
McCreery's launch would also easily mark the biggest debut sales week for any "Idol" winner since 2008, when David Cook's self-titled set bowed at No. 3 with 280,000 copies sold. In 2009, Kris Allen's eponymous album started at No. 11 with 80,000. And then last year, Lee DeWyze's "Live It Up" debuted at No. 19 with 39,000.
While McCreery's coming debut will be the big news on the Billboard 200 next week, three more acts are aiming for the top 10: Jack's Mannequin, Mayday Parade and Feist. Jack's "People and Things" may shift perhaps 30,000, as could Feist's "Metals." Mayday Parade's self-titled set, meanwhile, could launch with around 25,000.
Presently, it looks like Adele's "21" will shift into the runner-up slot while this week's No. 1 -- J. Cole's "Cole World: the Sideline Story" -- will fall to either No. 3 or No. 4.