Television viewers voted Scotty McCreery as the 10th American Idol, and those same viewers likely contributed to the teenager’s debut at the top of Billboard’s album charts this week. Clear As Day starts off at pole position with a fairly impressive 197,000 units sold. It’s the biggest first week sales total for any “Idol” champ since David Cook in 2008. Also worth noting, after a year and a half without a new solo artist debuting at #1 on the album charts, Scotty becomes the second artist to do it in two weeks, following J. Cole’s debut last week (although there’s an asterisk there, since Scotty charted an EP of “Idol” highlights earlier this year.)
At any rate, this is quite the infusion of energy for “American Idol” and reinforces the brand as a hitmaking one. McCreery’s success could be due to a couple of different factors. Some may point to the “Idol” family’s switch of distributors from Sony to Universal. Perhaps a better reason is that country artists tend to foster fans who are a bit more loyal, and maybe the best reason of all is that McCreery is cut from a somewhat different stylistic cloth than the previous three winners, all of whom had the Midwestern guy with a guitar thing going for them–diminishing returns had to kick in at some point, right?
Overall, the chart is much quieter than it was last week, with McCreery the only artist with a new album in the Top 5. New albums by jazzy alt-pop chanteuse Feist, country star Rodney Atkins and rock act Jack’s Mannequin land in the lower reaches of the Top Ten.
Sliding over to the singles chart for a few minutes, I’ve got to take note of a phenomenon I find somewhat interesting. While the Hot 100 pop chart is based on an amalgamation of radio airplay along with digital and physical sales, the R&B singles chart is primarily an airplay chart. Physical sales do figure into the stats, but seriously: when was the last time YOU bought a CD single? What’s happened is that the chart now-week in and week out-proves how lazy urban radio programmers are. If you look at the pop charts, 4 artists have more than one song in the Top 20 (Lil Wayne, LMFAO, Rihanna and Adam Levine-who rolls in on a technicality). Even that’s sort of weird, right? This week’s R&B Top 20? It features Lil Wayne no less than four times. Add that to four songs in the TOP TEN that contain Kanye West, three that feature Drake, and two apiece for Beyonce Jay-Z and Chris Brown (who would have four songs on the list if you stretched out to the Top 25). You have to wonder…is there any room for variety on “black” radio anymore? I have to put the word black in quotes because there are very few actual black people at the owner or program director levels at any of these stations, so it’s debatable whether these folks are programming what their audience wants OR just have other things in mind.
Look, I love Kanye, Jay, Bey and Drake. But if I still listened to the radio (and thank goodness I don’t), I wouldn’t want to hear one or the other on every single song that played!
Next week, it’s looking like Evanescence will score something of a surprise #1 with their self-titled third effort, although the sales (somewhere in the 120K) range will be a bit below their standard. Also look for solid debuts from the likes of “Idol” runner-up Lauren Alaina, country superstar Martina McBride, and Ryan Adams.
Here are this week’s Top 20 R&B/Hip-Hop singles, according to Billboard.
1) “She Will” | Lil Wayne feat. Drake
2) “Headlines” | Drake
3) “Marvin & Chardonnay” | Big Sean feat. Kanye West & Roscoe Dash
4) “N***as in Paris” | Jay-Z & Kanye West
5) “That Way” | Wale feat, Jeremih
6) “Wet The Bed” | Chris Brown feat. Ludacris
7) “Otis” | Jay-Z & Kanye West
8) “Quickie” | Miguel
9) “Party” | Beyonce feat. Andre 3000 & Kanye West
10) “Marvin’s Room” | Drake
11) “I’m On One” | DJ Khaled feat. Drake, Lil Wayne & others
12) “Mrs. Right” | Mindless Behavior feat. Diggy Simmons
13) “Best Thing I Never Had” | Beyonce
14) “Sure Thing” | Miguel
15) “Motivation” | Kelly Rowland feat. Lil Wayne
16) “How To Love” | Lil Wayne
17) “Body 2 Body” | Ace Hood feat. Chris Brown
18) “So In Love” | Jill Scott feat. Anthony Hamilton
19) “Fool For You” | Cee-Lo Green feat. Philip Bailey or Melanie Fiona
20) “Work Out” | J. Cole