Kelly Clarkson's march to world domination has begun.
The big-voiced American Idol trophy winner (and onetime Texas cocktail waitress) backed up her TV win with chart supremacy as her double-A-sided single, "Before Your Love"/"A Moment Like This" rocketed to number one in its first week in stores.
Released to radio stations shortly after the September 4 show finale, the single had been languishing on the pop singles chart. A week ago, it was number 52. But that ranking was based on radio airplay alone. Once the single was released in stores on September 17, it took off, jumping 51 spots to number one (a new Billboard record) and selling a staggering 236,000 copies for the week ended Sunday, according to SoundScan figures.
To put Clarkson's numbers in perspective, her single sold nearly seven times as many copies as all the other Top 20 singles combined. Her closest competition, Nivea's "Don't Mess with My Man," didn't even crack 5,000 copies. Clarkson's single even outsold every full-length album last week save one--Disturbed's Believe.
"We're in uncharted territory," Geoff Mayfield, Billboard's director of chart, says in a statement. "It's unusual to have a retail single to begin with, and it's even more unusual to have one sell decent numbers. This is the first one to sell more than 200,000 since 1999, so those are pretty big accomplishments."
Clarkson, whose "Before Your Love" video debuted Monday on the Fox Special American Idol in Vegas, will have four featured songs on the forthcoming American Idol: Greatest Moments album, due in stores next Tuesday. Her own full-length album, however, was pushed from its original November 26 street date to sometime in early 2003.
Over on the album charts, Disturbed's Believe ended the Dixie Chicks three-week chokehold on number one. The Chicago metalheads sophomore album sold a solid 284,000 copies, while the Chicks' Home fell to number two with 168,000.
In light of the September 11 anniversary, the previous two weeks featured few new debuts on the charts, but there were four Top 10 debuts on the latest list. Following Disturbed, the next best bow belonged to Disturbing Tha Peace--Ludacris' six-man Atlanta posse--whose Golden Grain sold 95,000 copies at number six.
Lifehouse, whose members originally came together as the youth group worship band at the Vineyard church in Malibu, proved their positive message remains popular as their second album, Stanley Climbfall, sold 74,000 copies at number seven.
And in the "he-still-blows" category, Kenny G sold 61,000 copies of Paradise to open at nine, one spot behind jazz newbie Norah Jones, whose debut Come Away with Me held at number eight in her 30th straight week on the charts.
The remaining Top 10 albums, all holdovers, included Avril Lavigne's Let Go, Nelly's Nellyville, Eminem's The Eminem Show and Toby Keith's Unleashed.
Just missing the Top 10 was Enrique Iglesias' new Spanish-language album, Quizas, which sold a soft 49,000 copies for a number 12 bow. The rerelease of John Mayer's 1999 EP, Inside Wants Out, followed at 22 with 36,000 copies. Natalie Cole's Ask a Woman Who Knows landed at 32 with 26,000 copies.
Other notable debuts included Disneymania at 61, Theory of a Deadman's self-titled at 85, the Chieftains' Down the Old Plank Road: The Nashville Sessions at 91, OK Go's self-titled at 107 and Al Jarreau's All I Got at 137.
Next week, watch the new Elvis Presley collection, 30 #1 Hits, attempt to duplicate the first-week success of its inspiration, the Beatles' 1.
To recap, the Top 10 albums for the week ended Sunday were:
1. Believe, Disturbed
2. Home, Dixie Chicks
3. Let Go, Avril Lavigne
4. Nellyville, Nelly
5. The Eminem Show, Eminem
6. Golden Grain, Disturbing Tha Peace
7. Stanley Climbfall, Lifehouse
8. Come Away with Me, Norah Jones
9. Paradise, Kenny G
10. Unleashed, Toby Keith
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