While ratings for "American Idol's Season 11 finale may have plummeted 30% this year, the franchise's wares are splashed all about the Billboard 200 this week. Let's start with the surprisingly robust debut of 2012 winner Phillip Phillips, whose iTunes exclusive "Journey to the Finale" album launches at No. 11 with 24,000 in sales.
In addition, Phillips is the first artist to launch with a debut Hot 100 single inside the top 10 in four years, as his "Home" wallops the list at No. 10, selling a dazzling 278,000 downloads.
He also has a second song on the 100: a cover of Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band's "We've Got Tonite," which comes in at No. 97. His is the third version of the coveted song to appear on the chart. Kenny Rogers & Sheena Easton hit No. 6 in 1983 with their lustrous remake (which also topped the country chart), while Seger's original reached No. 13 in 1979.
Likewise, 2011 "Idol" contestant Haley Reinhart is offered a hearty welcome at No. 17 with her first album "Listen Up!" selling 20,000. And four notches down, at No. 21, the "American Idol Season 11: Top 2 Season Finale" EP also hits the album chart, with 18,000.
As expected, 2009 "AI" winner Kris Allen's sophomore set, "Thank You Camellia," commanded less of a chart tidal wave, debuting at a tepid No. 26, with 17,000. His self-titled debut in 2009 opened at No. 11, with 80,000 in sales. Perhaps predicting his future: Allen is only the second “Idol” victor to fall short of the top 20 among those who have released a sophomore album. Taylor Hicks' “The Distance” entered at a paltry No. 58 in 2009. And where is he now?
There's more: 2012 "Idol" runner-up Jessica Sanchez also enters The Billboard 200 at No. 126, with her own "Journey to the Finale" album, moving 4,000 copies.
The news is less celebratory for another “Idol” alumnus: Adam Lambert's "Trespassing," which debuted on the Billboard 200 at No. 1 last week, plummets all the way to No. 12, with a 71% decline in sales. Ouch!
And while Carrie Underwood has far surpassed her title as an “American Idol” winner, she holds steady this week at No. 3 with “Blown Away.” The set also maintains a four-week stronghold on Top Country Albums.
Meanwhile, at the top of the Billboard 200 this week, John Mayer is living large with his third No. 1 album, as "Born and Raised" debuts atop the Billboard 200 chart. The singer/songwriter scanned 219,000 copies of the album, which follows his chart toppers "Battle Studies" (2009) and "Heavier Things" (2003). “B&R” also enters The Official U.K. chart at No. 4—Mayer's first top 10 album there.
Keeping a watchful eye at No. 2 is Adele's "21," followed by Underwood, while launching at No. 4 is Slash, whose "Apocalyptic Love," featuring vocalist Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators, comes in one notch lower than the rocker's self-titled 2010 release, which debuted and peaked at No. 3.
Next in line: One Direction's "Up All Night" rebounds 10-5; Lionel Richie's "Tuskegee" also rebounds, 9-6; followed by a debut from contemporary Christian group MercyMe at 7, with "The Hurt & the Healer”; singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles' new five-song EP "Once Upon Another Time" launches at No. 8; “Now 42” drops 3 to 9; and Norah Jones' "Little Broken Hearts" cascades down five to 10.
On the singles side, Gotye's irresistible "Somebody That I Used to Know," featuring Kimbra, becomes the longest-running No. 1 single of the year, to date, with its seventh week at No. 1 on the Hot 100. It tops the six weeks at the top by predecessor fun.'s "We Are Young," featuring Janelle Monae. Gotye also logs a second week at No. 1 on Radio Songs, with a total of 138 million impressions among all formats. It eases 2-3 on Digital Songs, while remaining at No. 1 on the On-Demand Songs chart.
And get this: The songs at Nos. 1 through 9 remain stationary on the Hot 100. Billboard's Chart Beat columnist Gary Trust notes this is the first time the top nine have remained in the same order since the entire top 10 repeated their ranks on Jan. 10, 2004.
The titles are: Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe"; Maroon 5's "Payphone," featuring Wiz Khalifa; Fun.'s "We Are Young"; Nicki Minaj's "Starships"; Flo Rida's "Wild Ones," featuring Sia; One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful"; The Wanted's "Glad You Came"; Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend"; and then, debuting at No. 10, Phillips' “Home.”
Last week, we reported on the flurry of re-entries in the wake of Donna Summer's untimely death last month. Now, Yahoo! Music Chart Watch columnist Paul Grein fills us in on increased sales by the Bee Gees, following Robin Gibb's sad death last week. The trio's 1978 classic song "Stayin' Alive" sold 14,000 copies, which pushed its digital sales just over 1 million. Grein reminds us that "Stayin' Alive" topped the Hot 100 for four weeks in February 1978, and garnered Grammy nods for Record and Song of the Year.
As well, two Bee Gees compilations re-enter the chart: “The Ultimate Bee Gees” is back at No. 49, while “Number Ones” returns at No. 70. “Saturday Night Fever” also encores at No. 168.
Coming up: It's a relatively slow period for new releases. Bobby Brown's “The Masterpiece” is due June 5 (opportunistic, following Whitney Houston's death?), along with Grammy winner Shawn Colvin's “All Fall Down.” Usher's “All 4 Myself” arrives June 12; with Linkin Park's “Living Things” and Maroon 5's “Overexposed” June 19. And that same week: what could be one of the biggest albums of the year, Justin Bieber's “Believe.” *