As another one of the hopefuls gets booted off of "American Idol" tonight, consider which of the remaining 10 is likely to match the achievements of Season 1 champ Kelly Clarkson. Her fourth album — "All I Ever Wanted" — just entered the Billboard charts at No. 1.That bounced U2 from the top of the perch. The Irish band ended up in the third position for the second week of sales for "No Line on the Horizon."
Kelly Clarkson pulled off this impressive feat with a flurry of promotional appearances, including singing her No. 1 single "My Life Would Suck Without You" on last week's live "American Idol." Back in January, she broke a Billboard record when that first cut from the album jumped 97 places in just one week. And while critics are divided about her return to a more familiar style, the impressive sales of that single, and to some extent the album, could help raise Clarkson's profile come Grammy nominations time.
However, while it is tempting to tout this album as Kelly Clarkson's comeback, the first week sales are actually below those for her last effort — the introspective 2007 disc "My December." That album, which boasted a different sound from the pop princess, was met with confusion by critics and fans alike and barely went platinum in the end. That it was characterized as a disappointment was due more to the staggering success of her second album — "Breakaway" — than the failure of this third one.
After all, the breakthrough "Breakaway" sold 6 million copies and won Kelly Clarkson a pair of 2006 Grammy Awards for best female pop vocal performance ("Since U Been Gone") and pop album. By comparison, "Thankful" — the debut album that followed in the wake of her 2002 crowning as the first "American Idol" — went double platinum but failed to impress the critics.
Of the other six "American Idol" winners to date, only one really wowed the recording industry with their first efforts. That was Season 4 champ Carrie Underwood who was named best new artist at the 2007 Grammy Awards. And she has won three consecutive Grammys for female country vocal performance: 2007 ("Jesus, Take the Wheel"), 2008 ("Before He Cheats"), and 2009 ("Last Name"). Carrie Underwood has also won five American Music Awards, five Country Music Assn. Awards, six Academy of Country Music Awards, and six CMTs.