Kelly Clarkson is Idol’s all-time record sales leader, but Clay Aiken leads with single sales

Among American Idol finalists who’ve released music to the public, Kelly Clarkson is the most successful in terms of album sales, while Clay Aiken has a commanding lead in the single sales category.

USA TODAY’s Idol Chatter reports on the Nielsen SoundScan numbers, which show that Kelly Clarkson has sold far more albums (8.1 million copies over two albums) than any other Idol star. With his three albums, Clay Aiken is a close second, having sold 4.3 million copies. But Carrie Underwood’s numbers are impressive, as she sold 3.65 million copies of just one album. The biggest loser: Corey Clark, who sold only 2,500 copies of his crappy record.

In the singles category, the numbers are very different, as both of season two’s finalist two easily defeated season one’s Kelly Clarkson. Clay Aiken leads single sales with 1.3 million singles sold, while season two winner Ruben Studdard is second with 751,000 copies. Kelly Clarkson is third with 636,000 copies, followed by Taylor Hicks with 449,000 copies. At the bottom of the list is John Stevens, who has sold 2,700 singles, 200 more copies than Corey Clark’s album sold.

Finally, in the downloaded tracks category, Kelly Clarkson leads again, having sold an impressive 5.9 million songs. Carrie Underwood is number two with 1.5 million, and surprisingly, Josh Gracin is third with 442,000. Bo Bice (377,000) and Clay Aiken (328,000) come in at fourth and fifth. At the bottom of the list is Kimberly Caldwell, who has only had 200 tracks downloaded.

Idol sales standings: A fairly exhaustive list [USA TODAY: Idol Chatter]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.