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Idol status is clear in Aiken debut

October 23, 2003|Randy Lewis | Times Staff Writer

Clay Aiken may have crossed the "American Idol" finish line behind Ruben Studdard last May, but he's second to none on the national sales chart, with his debut album, "Measure of a Man," selling nearly 613,000 copies last week, more than triple the runner-up, according to Nielsen/SoundScan.

By any measure it's an impressive figure, placing him third overall this year for highest first-week sales. Rapper 50 Cent is No. 1, posting first-week sales in February of 872,000 copies with his "Get Rich or Die Tryin'," also the year's bestselling album at almost 6.2 million copies. Rock-rap band Linkin Park remains in second place: Its sophomore album "Meteora" posted 810,000 its first week in stores in March.

Aiken's achievement puts more pressure on Studdard, whose debut album, "Soulful," is due next month on Clive Davis' J Records label. Either way Davis is a winner: He's also producer of Aiken's album. The North Carolina singer also bested Studdard over the summer when their first singles were released, Aiken's "This Is the Night" keeping Studdard's "Flying Without Wings" at bay at the top of the singles sales listing for several weeks.

Aiken pushes last week's top-selling album, Ludacris' "Chicken-N-Beer," into the No. 2 slot. The other Top 10 debuts this week are Jagged Edge's "Hard," at No. 3 after selling almost 178,000 copies, and Barbra Streisand's "The Movie Album," which sold 162,000, entering the chart at No. 5.

The remaining slots in a Top 10 are occupied by, in order, OutKast, Dido, Elvis Presley, Sting, Hilary Duff and Dave Matthews.

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