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'Idol' runner-up steals spotlight

June 19, 2003|Geoff Boucher

This time, with votes cast at the cash register, Clay Aiken won.

Aiken was the runner-up in the most recent "American Idol" competition, but on music charts released Wednesday, he had the bestselling single in the country with "This Is the Night," which comes paired on the disc with his version of the Simon & Garfunkel classic, "Bridge Over Troubled Water." "Idol" champ Ruben Studdard, meanwhile, was a distant second with his "Flying Without Wings," the song popularized by pop group Westlife, and the added song "Superstar."

Aiken's single sold 393,000 copies in its first week in stores, while Studdard's single sold 286,000 copies. On the "Idol" finale in May, 25-year-old Alabama-native Studdard narrowly edged 24-year-old Aiken of North Carolina for the popular talent show's second-season crown. Aiken's single enjoyed the best week of sales by any single since "Candle in the Wind 1997" by Elton John.

-- Geoff Boucher

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