It's been just four weeks since the season 10 finale of "American Idol," so it's no surprise that winner Scotty McCreery is appearing on several Billboard charts, including Hot Country Songs (where his debut single "I Love You This Big" bullets 25-22), Country Digital Songs and Top Country Albums. But will he still be charting 10 years from now? With 15 Idols from the series' first decade listed on the Billboard charts this week, the odds are in his favor.
The 17-year-old deep-voiced season 10 champ and runner-up Lauren Alaina both have multiple chart entries this week, joining 13 other Idols and representing every season of the highly-rated Fox series but one (season 9). Their singles and albums occupy slots on charts from several different genres, including pop, country, R&B, Christian and Broadway. Within those genres, the Idols are listed on charts ranging from Adult Contemporary and Adult Top 40 to Adult R&B and Christian Adult Contemporary.
Of course, first-season winner Kelly Clarkson has been charting for 10 years. Counting all national, domestic charts compiled by Billboard, she has earned 60 of Idol's 301 number one titles, including her current hit, "Don't You Wanna Stay," recorded as a duet with Jason Aldean. A former No. 1 on Hot Country Songs and Country Digital Songs, the single is now experiencing crossover success, jumping 12-11 on this week's Adult Top 40 chart and 17-15 in its second week on the Adult Contemporary tally.
From Season two, Ruben Studdard has amassed 16 No. 1s to date and is currently No. 2 on the Bubbling Under R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and No. 32 on the Adult R&B list, featured with Keke Wyatt on "Saturday Love." Season three's champ, Fantasia, is No. 11 on the Adult R&B chart with her Motown-sampling "Collard Greens & Cornbread," and No. 67 on Top R&B Albums with "Back to Me." From that same season, Academy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson has a pair of singles from her "I Remember Me" album on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, including her latest hit, "No One Gonna Love You," which climbs 50-42. The parent album slides 13-18 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and is No. 94 on The Billboard 200.
Even though it's been 85 weeks since fourth-season winner Carrie Underwood (who did a Superstar Q&A at Billboard's recent Country Music Summit) released a new album, the singer from Checotah, Oklahoma, has not suffered a diminished chart presence. She has a career total of 50 No. 1s to her credit, including her latest, a live recording of the standard "How Great Thou Art," which topped the Christian Digital Songs and Christian/Gospel Digital Songs charts. Underwood's "Jesus, Take The Wheel" and "Temporary Home" have also taken up residence on these two Christian charts, with the former resurging to No. 3 two weeks ago. Underwood's latest single, a duet with Brad Paisley on "Remind Me," leaps 21-17 on the Hot Country Songs survey and surges 9-3 on Country Digital Songs. Meanwhile, "Play On" lives on, ranking No. 18 on the Top Country Catalog Albums chart. A second finalist from season four is also charting as one of the vocalists on the "Rock Of Ages" CD. Constantine Maroulis, Tony-nominated for his role in the Broadway musical and star of the road company version, sings on the album, which ranks No. 12 on the Top Cast Albums chart.
From the fifth season of "American Idol," Kellie Pickler (who performed during Billboard's Country Summit) is about to release her third album. Her first two CDs both spent time at No. 1 on Top Country Albums, in 2006 and 2008. Pickler, who has four career No. 1s to her credit, rises 53-47 on Hot Country Songs with her new single, "Tough."
From that same season, Chris Daughtry's band Daughtry is continuing a long visit in the top 10 of the Adult Contemporary chart, where "September" slides 7-8 in its 45th week. Daughtry has a total of 38 No. 1s across the Billboard charts. Also on the charts from season five is Mandisa, whose latest single, "Stronger," is a former No. 1 on both the Christian Songs and Christian Adult Contemporary charts, just part of her total of 11 Billboard No. 1s. The song sits at No. 3 on both lists this week and her "What If We Were Real" jumps 11-7 on Top Christian Albums.
Season six is represented on this week's charts by another Christian artist, Chris Sligh. His latest single, "One," ascends 33-29 on Christian Songs and slips 25-26 on Christian Adult Contemporary.
Season seven winner David Cook has a new album out on June 28, "This Loud Morning." The initial single, "The Last Goodbye," is working its way up the Adult Top 40 chart, with a 38-36 lift this week. On the Adult Contemporary Audience tally, the song is No. 25, down from a to-date peak of No. 20. Cook has six Billboard No. 1s, including a 15-week reign on Adult Contemporary with his coronation song, "The Time Of My Life."
Season eight's victor Kris Allen and runner-up Adam Lambert also appear on this week's Billboard charts, two years after their season finale. Allen, who has three No. 1s to his credit, found his "Live Like We're Dying" song re-surge 39-2 on the Christian Digital Songs chart three weeks ago after performing on a PBS Memorial Day special. The track has since settled back down, falling 27-46 this week. Lambert's hit single "Whataya Want From Me" moved to recurrent status on the Adult Top 40 charts almost a year ago and topped the Adult Top 40 Recurrents chart in September 2010, where it became one of Lambert's six Billboard No. 1s. Now it's one summer later and "Whataya Want From Me" still ranks No. 18 on this airplay list.
Season nine is the only "Idol" season not represented on this week's charts, though runner-up Crystal Bowersox was back on The Billboard 200 recently with "Farmer's Daughter" and third-place Casey James has a single and album due out on Sony Nashville. Winner Lee DeWyze has one No. 1 in his column, added when his cover of U2's "Beautiful Day" topped the Rock Digital Songs chart in June 2010.
The 15 Idols who are charting this week are part of a bigger picture: Of the 119 finalists from the series' first 10 years, 54 have garnered Billboard chart ink, making the odds about 50-50 of earning a place on a Billboard chart if you are fortunate enough to land in the top 12 one season (or the top 10 or the top 13, depending on which year you're on the show). It's even possible to achieve a chart position if you're not a finalist - just ask William Hung, Josiah Leming, Frenchie Davis and Chris Medina.
It may seem like only yesterday when "American Idol" first appeared on our TV screens, but next year Kelly Clarkson will begin her second decade on the Billboard charts. Turns out it's not just the show that has staying power, but the stars it has created.