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“Idol” Chart Battle Of The Sexes

As Crystal and Lee square off in this week's finale, history shows that female "American Idol" graduates have scored impressive chart success.

One Tuesday night TV mystery (sort of) down, two to go.

Sunday night (May 23), ABC aired the heartwarming “Lost” series finale, a satisfying two-and-a-half hours, even if many of the island’s questions remain unanswered. (It’s a good bet that executive producers Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindelof would remain mum even if interrogated by Sayid).

June 8, we’ll find out whether New Directions can emerge victorious at the long-awaited Regionals competition when Fox airs the Journey-centric season finale of “Glee.”

Before, however, learning the results of the tutelage of Mr. Shue, the “American Idol” season of pants (on the ground) and (Mama)sox wraps tomorrow night (May 26).

For the first time since 2007, the top two “Idol” finalists comprise a male-vs.-female showdown. Crystal Bowersox and Lee DeWyze mark the fifth such battle of the sexes, with women taking three of the first four matchups:

Year, Winner, Runner-Up
2007: Jordin Sparks, Blake Lewis
2006: Taylor Hicks, Katharine McPhee
2005: Carrie Underwood, Bo Bice
2002: Kelly Clarkson, Justin Guarini

Since the series’ launch in 2002, it’s notable that female “Idol” alumnni have outshined their male counterparts in certain key sales and chart comparisons. (Billboard’s ranking of the top 24 “Idol” contestants, encompassing album sales, track sales and radio airplay, reveals similar results, as women claim three of the top four spots: (1) Clarkson, (2) Underwood and (4) Sparks).

Ahead of season nine’s coronation, here is a look at chart dominance displayed by female “Idol” graduates.

Best-selling “Idol” acts by U.S. career album sales, according to Nielsen SoundScan:

Underwood and Clarkson are the only artists discovered on “Idol” whose total album sales each eclipse 10 million:

11.5 million, Carrie Underwood
10.6 million, Kelly Clarkson
5.7 million, Chris Daughtry (with Daughtry)
4.9 million, Clay Aiken
2.5 million, Ruben Studdard

Best-selling “Idol” acts by U.S. career digital track sales, according to SoundScan:

Clarkson and Underwood (in reverse order) also lead the list of “Idol” acts with the most songs individually downloaded:

16.2 million, Kelly Clarkson
15.1 million, Carrie Underwood
10 million, Chris Daughtry (with Daughtry)
9.1 million, Jordin Sparks
3.9 million, David CookBest-selling albums by “Idol” acts, according to SoundScan:

Underwood and Clarkson boast four of the top six-selling albums by former “Idol” contestants, including the top two sets:

6,979,000, “Some Hearts,” Carrie Underwood
6,141,000, “Breakaway,” Kelly Clarkson
4,678,000, “Daughtry,” Chris Daughtry (with Daughtry)
3,088,000, “Carnival Ride,” Carrie Underwood
2,784,000, “Measure of a Man,” Clay Aiken
2,740,000, “Thankful,” Kelly Clarkson

Most Billboard Hot 100 top 10s among “Idol” acts:

Of 27 Hot 100 top 10s to-date by “Idol”-born acts, 16 belong to female artists; half of those have been notched by Clarkson:

8, Kelly Clarkson
4, Carrie Underwood
3, Jordin Sparks
2, Clay Aiken
2, Chris Daughtry (with Daughtry)
2, Ruben Studdard

Most Pop Songs top 10s among “Idol” acts:

Clarkson likewise leads all former contestants with the most top 10s on Billboard’s mainstream top 40 radio airplay chart:

10, Kelly Clarkson
4, Chris Daughtry (with Daughtry)
4, Jordin Sparks

Such female chart firepower, of course, serves only as a measure of past performance, not necessarily related to the vote between Bowersox and DeWyze. And, viewers have selected male artists – Kris Allen (2009) and David Cook (2008) – in each of the past two years, when women did not crack the top two.

Regardless of how the pair will write the next chapter in “Idol” chart history, Bowersox and DeWyze each are prepared to make the most of tonight’s deciding season nine performances.

“I think winning is the essential goal for both of us, but I think whether I won or she won, both of us want successful careers and want to keep doing this,” DeWyze said yesterday. “I don’t think it’s a matter of ‘be here and be gone.’ I wanna do this for the rest of my life, or for a long time. We’ve both been given such an opportunity and I wanna make the absolute best of it.”

Bowersox added that she and DeWyze may have found a solution that could at last ensure equality in the “Idol” battle of the sexes.

“We could freak everybody out and start a band.”