Chart Watch: Lee Flops, Idol Runs Out of Steam

     You might not know it from the Hot 100, but American Idol is still the top show on television.  Although it has been slipping in the ratings and will no doubt suffer next year without Simon Cowell, Idol has been No. 1 for six years now according to A.C. Nielsen ratings.  That's unheard of (All In The Family and The Cosby Show did it for five).  If only this season's winner was as successful.

     Season 9 champ Lee DeWyze made his Hot 100 debut this week with a cover of U2's "Beautiful Day", coming in at a pathetic No. 24.  Assuming the single fails to climb any higher, DeWyze will set the record for the lowest charting debut single from an Idol winner.  After the jump are the peak positions of each winner's first single.

Season 1 - No. 1 (two weeks), Kelly Clarkson, "A Moment Like This"
Season 2 - No. 2, Ruben Studdard, "Flying Without Wings"
Season 3 - No. 1 (one week), Fantasia, "I Believe"
Season 4 - No. 1 (one week), Carrie Underwood, "Inside Your Heaven"
Season 5 - No. 1 (one week), Taylor Hicks, "Do I Make You Proud"
Season 6 - No. 15, Jordin Sparks, "This Is My Now"
Season 7 - No. 3, David Cook, "The Time of My Life"
Season 8 - No. 11, Kris Allen, "No Boundaries"
Season 9 - No. 24,  Lee DeWyze, "Beautiful Day"

     For the first five years of Idol's existence, going No. 1 with your first single was a given.  The only winner who failed to do so, Ruben Studdard in 2003, was kept at No. 2 by runner-up Clay Aiken who topped the chart.  The annual tradition of Idol No. 1 singles ended in 2007 with Jordin Sparks, but at least she could blame it on a botched digital release.  The following year, David Cook was stuck behind Lil Wayne's "Lollipop" and Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love", but with 1.2 million digital downloads of "The Time of My Life," Cook holds the record for biggest selling coronation song.

     Kris Allen really had nothing to blame last year when "No Boundaries" only reached No. 11, but I'm sure DeWyze would prefer that position to a lousy No. 24 debut.  Some think the fact that Lee's song was a cover instead of an original song hurt him, but that isn't the case.  Ruben and Clay's "Flying Without Wings" was actually a cover of a song by British boyband Westlife.  And regardless of that, wouldn't people rather buy a cover of the Grammy-winning U2 epic than some schlocky ballad?  The problem is the show itself.

     American Idol's first season was subtitled "The Search for a Superstar," and a superstar they found in Kelly Clarkson. The show has found a number of other stars, but for at least the past two years, it has become more of a reality show than a search for a superstar.  Kris Allen appealed to more of the show's fan base than Adam Lambert did, but did anyone really think Allen was the bigger star?  And can anyone actually question that a year after he took the crown?  The same can be said of DeWyze and Season 9 runner-up Crystal Bowersox.  It is less of a talent show and more of a popularity contest.

     In addition to reaching No. 24 with "Beautiful Day", Lee charted with "Hallelujah" at No. 44, "Falling Slowly", his duet with Bowersox, at No. 66, and "The Boxer" at No. 88.  Bowersox also charted with "Up To The Mountain" at No. 57.

     Up in the top ten, Usher and Will.I.Am retain control of the top slot for a fourth week with "OMG", Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg move back up to No. 2 with "California Gurl" [sic], and La Roux scores a top ten hit as "Bulletproof" crash lands at No. 8.

1. "OMG" - Usher feat. Will.I.Am.
2. "California Gurls" - Katy Perry feat. Snoop Dogg
3. "Airplanes" - B.o.B. feat. Hayley Williams
4. "Your Love Is My Drug" - Ke$ha
5. "Break Your Heart" - Taio Cruz feat. Ludacris
6. "Alejandro" - Lady Gaga
7. "Nothin' On You" - B.o.B. feat. Bruno Mars
8. "Bulletproof" - La Roux
9. "Hey Soul Sister" - Train
10. "Not Afraid" - Eminem


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