'Idol' a bigger hit among music fans
Posted May 30, 2012
Ratings for last week's American Idol finale may have been down, but sales for the winner's coronation single were up — way up.
Even though the finale was the least-viewed in the show's history, Phillip Phillips' Home sold 278,000 downloads, giving the Season 11 champ the best first-week sales of any winner since Ruben Studdard.
The Season 2 titleholder sold 286,000 copies of Flying Without Wings the week after he took home the crown in 2003, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Studdard's runner-up, Clay Aiken, has the best first-week numbers for any Idol: 393,000 copies of This Is the Night.
Billboard senior correspondent Phil Gallo attributes the track's success to a combination of Phillips' unique appeal and the song's quality.
"A lot of the songs they've had for the finales have been highly produced and saccharine," Gallo says. "This one had more of an emotional connection. The fact that he personally had such an emotional response to winning made people connect with him and, therefore, the song."
Home was the week's second-most-downloaded track, behind Carly Rae Jepsen's Call Me Maybe, which sold 301,000 copies.
Phillips' Journey to the Finale digital compilation, which features 11 songs he performed during the Idol season, sold 24,000 copies and ranked No. 11 on the Billboard album chart. A similar collection from runner-up Jessica Sanchez sold just 4,000 copies (No. 126).
Making Phillips' debut even more impressive: 27% fewer viewers watched him win (21.5 million) than tuned in to see Scotty McCreery take the title in 2011 (29.3 million.) Yet Phillips' Home outsold McCreery's I Love You This Big— which went on to become a top 20 country hit — by more than 100,000 downloads.
Airplay for Phillips' single hasn't been as quickly forthcoming, though. Where I Love You This Big got 560 radio spins in its first week, Home has had just 107. Sanchez generated even less radio interest: Her Change Nothing had just 11 plays.
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