Sorry, Jessica Sanchez fanatics, but it looks like Phillip Phillips may not just be another “White Guy With Guitar” after all.
The Georgia native, who was crowned American Idol’s 11th winner last Wednesday (resulting in an endearing parent-hugging breakdown), debuted at No. 2 on the Hot Digital Songs chart, shifting 278,000 units of his single “Home” last week. (Read our review here.)
Although Phillips couldn’t dethrone current pop queen (and Canadian Idol alum!) Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” from first place, Billboard notes that his digital debut marks the second-best digital sales week for any Idol contestant behind Kelly Clarkson’s “My Life Would Suck Without You,” which debuted with 280,000 downloads in 2009. “Home” was also downloaded more times in its first week than any other Idol coronation song, including David Cook’s “The Time of Your Life,” which previously held that distinction after being downloaded 236,000 times following the Season 7 finale.
Of course, season 2’s Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard had bigger debut sales weeks in 2003 – Aiken’s “This Is the Night” sold 393,000 units and Studdard’s “Flying Without Wings” sold 286,000 in their first week – back when CDs were the predominant delivery method for the winner’s single. But Phillips’ apparent sales power is an encouraging boon for the Idol franchise, which took a ratings hit this year, perhaps as a result to TV’s glut of singing competitions.
Time will tell whether Phillips match the sales of Idol’s most successful alumni, like Carrie Underwood, Chris Daughtry, and Kelly Clarkson, but the success of “Home” is an impressive start. Hopefully all the good vibes will help Phillips, who’s scheduled to undergo kidney surgery soon, have a speedy recovery!