Phillip Phillips' debut single gets an Olympics boost. (Christina House / For The…)
The five members of the U.S. women's gymnastics team are coming home from the London Olympics with gold medals. Their success has also unwittingly touched the burgeoning career of "American Idol" winner Phillip Phillips, as NBC has numerous times over the last 12 days shown the likes of Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney discussing their Olympic dreams in a promo piece scored to Phillips' "Home."
Just as Maroney has her ups and downs on the vault, despite being widely considered the world's greatest at that event, a career after winning "American Idol" isn't exactly a given either. Yet Phillips now has a head start. His debut single, "Home," is the top-selling download this week in the U.S., leading the tally with 228,000 purchases, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
That's especially impressive because the folksy Mumford & Sons-inspired charmer has been on the chart for 11 weeks and was heading in the opposite direction before NBC made it the unofficial theme song for women's gymnastics. Sales were up last week after the first few days of the London Games, but "Home" at No. 47 was still a long way away from No. 1.
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Last week, "Home" sold 40,000 downloads. Just two weeks ago, "Home" was in danger of falling out of the top 100 on the digital sales chart, as it was nesting at No. 85. To date, "Home" has sold 844,000 downloads, and this week's total of 228,000 downloads is its second-best week on the chart. Only its debut week was better, when the track sold 278,000 copies.
But to illustrate just how big an effect the Olympics have had on Phillips, let's compare the sales of "Home" to those of Scotty McCreery's "I Love You This Big." Sure, in one sense, it's like comparing a floor routine to one on the parallel bars, but McCreery was the winner of "American Idol" last season, and "I Love You This Big" was his initial single. In more than a year since its release, "I Love You This Big" has sold 838,000 downloads.
That means that in less than three months, Phillips has vaulted over the post-"Idol" pace of the prior year's winner. The bigger question will be in the weeks to come: Now that the artistic gymnastics competitions have concluded, can Phillips give listeners a reason to care when his songs don't have the inspiring faces of the "Fab Five" to carry them up the charts?
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