Music Article

Flying Without Wings

Ruben Studdard's ''Soulful'' debuts at No. 1. The ''Idol'' winner enjoys a better first week than Kelly Clarkson, but not as good as Clay Aiken's

Ruben Studdard, American Idol | THIRD TIME'S A CHARM Studdard is the third Idol to debut at No. 1
THIRD TIME'S A CHARM Studdard is the third Idol to debut at No. 1

Ruben Studdard was the biggest name in pop music this week. The ''American Idol'' winner's long-awaited debut, ''Soulful,'' entered the Billboard chart at No. 1, selling 416,500 copies, according to SoundScan. (Those of you who still think runner-up Clay Aiken can take heart; his ''Measure of a Man'' sold 613,000 copies its first week.) Last year's ''Idol'' winner, Kelly Clarkson, sold 297,000 copies of ''Thankful'' during that debut album's first week in stores this spring.

While Mr. 205 was the third ''Idol'' performer to enjoy a No. 1 debut, no other new release cracked the top 10. (Musiq's ''Soulstar'' debuted at No. 13; Ice Cube's Westside Connection saw its ''Terrorist Threats'' open at No. 16; and ''Milkshake'' soda jerk Kelis saw her ''Tasty'' disc debut at No. 27.) Last week's chart topper, ''The Diary of Alicia Keys,'' slipped into second place with sales of 324,000, for a two-week total of 961,000. ''NOW That's What I Call Music! Vol. 14'' rose one notch to third place on sales of 261,000. Toby Keith's ''Shock'N Y'all'' saw a 15 percent sales jump to 245,000 discs but slipped on the chart two spots to No. 4. Similarly, Josh Groban's ''Closer'' saw a sales boost to 238,000 copies but slipped two slots to No. 5.

The rest of the top-10 discs also saw sales boosts, even though some of them lost chart places. Down one space to No. 6 was OutKast's ''Speakerboxx/The Love Below.'' Jumping six spots to No. 7 was Rod Stewart's ''As Time Goes By: The Great American Song Book Vol. II.'' Hilary Duff's ''Metamorphosis'' dropped two rungs to No. 8. ''The Very Best of Sheryl Crow'' held in ninth place. Sliding three slots was Britney Spears' ''In the Zone,'' landing at No. 10.

Originally posted Dec 17, 2003