Ruben, Clay, and company, take note: ''American Idol'' really CAN make you a star. Winner Kelly Clarkson's first album, ''Thankful,'' debuts at No. 1 this week, selling about 297,000 copies, according to Nielsen Soundscan. The big numbers come despite slow-building radio play for the single ''Miss Independent'' and lack of a video for the track.
Meanwhile, despite including just three new songs, 50 Cent's DVD/CD hybrid ''The New Breed'' hits No. 2, joining his previous release, ''Get Rich or Die Tryin''' in the top 10 (''Rich'' dropped to No. 5). Fleetwood Mac's long-awaited reunion album ''Say You Will'' lands at No. 3, while Darryl Worley's ''Have You Forgotten?'' rides its smash 9/11-themed title song to a No. 4 debut.
The rest of the top 10 includes Linkin Park's ''Meteora'' at No. 6, ''Now That's What I Call Music! Vol. 12'' at No. 7, Norah Jones' ''Come Away With Me'' at No. 8, Jimmy Buffet's greatest-hits compilation ''Meet Me in Margaritaville'' at No. 9, and Cher's ''The Very Best of Cher'' hanging in at No. 10.