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Chart Beat Podcast: Top 40 'American Idol' Hits, Part 1, With Special Guest Scotty McCreery

From left: Scotty McCreery, Carrie Underwood & Adam Lambert
Getty Images; Design by Jessica Xie

From left: Scotty McCreery, Carrie Underwood & Adam Lambert

McCreery & Triple Tigers exec Norbert Nix discuss the singer's first No. 1 song, "Five More Minutes."

Welcome to the Billboard Chart Beat Podcast, where each week co-hosts Gary Trust and Trevor Anderson, from the Billboard charts department, discuss why what's on the charts … is on the charts, while also looking at current chart action in a historical context for even greater insights.

This week, ahead of the season premiere of American Idol, which returns after a nearly two-year break Sunday (March 11) on ABC, Gary and Trevor count down Nos. 40 through 21 of our exclusive look at the top 40 Billboard Hot 100 hits by Idol contestants. Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Daughtry, Fantasia, Adam Lambert and more make the first half of the list, which in total features 14 finalists from the show's first 15 seasons.

Plus, 2011 Idol winner Scotty McCreery and Triple Tigers gm/partner Norbert Nix chat with Billboard's Nashville-based senior chart manager Jim Asker about the label's recent launch, McCreery's start on Idol and his latest chart honor: his first No. 1 on Country Airplay (dated March 3), "Five More Minutes."

The song previews McCreery's new album, Seasons Change, due March 16.

How does McCreery compare his Idol and chart coronations? "It's two different highs," he says. "Coming off the biggest TV show in the world at that point … that was three months of hard work in a bubble, and it was awesome.

"But, we're seven years removed from that, and you want to be able to maintain your success and put out music that is relevant, and that people enjoy."

Listen to the first part of our retrospective of the biggest Hot 100 hits by American Idol contestants, and come back for the conclusion next week, when we'll count down Nos. 20 through 1 … and recap the first episode of Idol's comeback season.

As always, check back for additional upcoming Chart Beat Podcast episodes with artists, label executives, radio programmers and personalities, songwriters, producers and more. And, to receive every episode automatically in your inbox, subscribe to (and rate) the Billboard Chart Beat Podcast on iTunes!

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