Kelly Clarkson's 'Tree' Tops AC

Jeremy Cowart

Kelly Clarkson

Her carol 'Underneath the Tree' becomes the format's latest holiday leader

Following Thanksgiving and still more than three weeks before Christmas Day, the holiday season in full effect at AC radio, as Kelly Clarkson's "Underneath the Tree" reaches the Adult Contemporary chart apex (16-1 with Greatest Gainer honors). The song appears on Clarkson's first holiday album, "Wrapped in Red," which opened at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 last month. The set has sold 199,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and has spent its first four weeks in the Billboard 200 chart's top 10.

"Tree" is Clarkson's third AC leader. The original "American Idol" queen reigned for 21 weeks in 2005 with "Breakaway" and for eight frames last year with "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)."

As "Tree" climbs to the AC apex, the song becomes the 15th yuletide title to top the tally. All have led since 2001, as around that time the number of new holiday releases increased as the majority of AC stations began making ratings-seeking switches to playing seasonal songs 24/7 for the first time in the format's history.

Here's a holly, jolly recap of the holiday titles to top AC. Perhaps surprisingly, more than half (eight) of the seasonal leaders aren't covers of decades-old standards, a scale that "Tree" tips in favor of more modern fare upon its coronation.

Title, Artist, Date Reached No. 1, Weeks at No. 1
"Underneath the Tree," Kelly Clarkson, Dec. 2, 2013, one (to date)
"Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow," Rod Stewart, Dec, 8, 2012, five
"All I Want for Christmas Is You," Michael Buble, Dec. 10, 2011, five
"Oh Santa!," Mariah Carey, Dec. 18, 2010, four
"A Baby Changes Everything," Faith Hill, Dec. 20, 2008, three
"I'll Be Home for Christmas," Josh Groban, Dec. 22, 2007, three
"Frosty the Snowman," Kimberley Locke, Dec. 15, 2007, one
"It Came Upon a Midnight Clear," Daryl Hall John Oates, Dec. 30, 2006, two
"Jingle Bells," Kimberley Locke, Dec. 23, 2006, one
"Up on the Housetop," Kimberley Locke, Dec. 17, 2005, four
"Believe," Josh Groban, Dec. 11, 2004, five
"Sending You a Little Christmas," Jim Brickman with Kristy Starling, Jan. 3, 2004, one
"O Holy Night," Josh Groban, Dec. 28, 2002, two
"Simple Things," Jim Brickman featuring Rebecca Lynn Howard, Jan. 5, 2002, one
"The Christmas Shoes," NewSong, Jan. 6, 2001, one

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