Scotty McCreery’s first album sets records, does better than previous two Idols combined

American Idol 10 winner Scotty McCreery has done something no country singer has ever done and no winner of the show has done since season two: topping the Billboard 200 chart with his debut album in its first week of release. He also sold more copies than the combined first-week sales totals of both Lee DeWyze and Kris Allen, and became the youngest man ever to have a number-one first-week record. All this from the singer whose win caused “Danny Gokey” to start trending on Twitter.

Scotty’s album Clear As Day sold 197,000 copies, Billboard reports, noting that makes him “the first country act to debut at No. 1 with their first studio album, and at 18-years old, the youngest man to open at the top of the chart with their debut release.”

Billboard reports that it was “the biggest debut sales week of any ‘Idol’ winner’s first album since 2008, when David Cook’s self-titled set started with 280,000 at No. 3. Kris Allen saw his eponymous 2009 debut launch with 80,000 (No. 11) and in 2010, Lee DeWyze’s “Live It Up” arrived with 39,000 (No. 19).”

So yes, Scotty sold more copies his first week than Lee and Kris combined. He told USA TODAY, “My head is just spinning. It started out kind of low: They said 100,000 maybe. Then every day I saw the numbers climbing. It’s wild: It wasn’t a year ago that I was a normal cat, and now I’m number one on Billboard. It’s insane, it really is.” (Yes it is, especially since you used the word “cat.”)

The most recent winner to land at number one their first week was Ruben Studdard, who sold 417,000 copies in his first week. It’s worth noting that season’s runner-up, Clay Aiken, who will be on The Celebrity Apprentice, sold 617,000 copies of his first record.

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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.