Phillip Phillips' "Home" tops the 2 million mark in digital sales this week. This marks the first time that an American Idol winner's "coronation song" has sold 2 million copies. The previous best-seller among coronation songs was David Cook's "The Time Of My Life," which has sold 1,463,000 copies.
"Home," which has the rootsy appeal of Mumford & Sons, entered the Hot 100 at #10 in June, the week after Phillips was crowned the Season 11 winner. It then tumbled down the chart until NBC featured the song during its coverage of the Summer Olympics in August. The week after it was featured on the Olympics, it rebounded from #84 to #9.
Trailing "Home" and "The Time Of My Life" on the list of best-selling coronation songs (also called winners singles) are Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This" (1,223,000), Carrie Underwood's "Inside Your Heaven" (880K), Scotty McCreery's "I Love You This Big" (851K), Ruben Studdard's "Flying Without Wings" (790K), Taylor Hicks' "Do I Make You Proud" (709K), Fantasia's "I Believe" (559K), Kris Allen's "No Boundaries" (343K), Jordin Sparks' "This Is My Now" (334K) and Lee DeWyze's "Beautiful Day" (186K). (The tallies for the songs from the first five seasons combine digital sales and physical single sales.)
Of course, these artists weren't on a level playing field. Phillips was given an outstanding song that was ideal for his talents. DeWyze wasn't given a new song at all. He was handed a U2 classic and expected to bring something new to it (good luck with that).
The success of "Home" bodes well for Phillips' first studio album, The World From The Side Of The Moon, which is due Nov. 19. It's vying to become the fourth debut album by an Idol winner to enter The Billboard 200 at #1, following Clarkson's Thankful, Studdard's Soulful and McCreery's Clear As Day.
"Home" is the 12th song by an American Idol alumnus (winner or not) to sell 2 million or more copies. Improbably, two of the 12 have the same title. Daughtry's 2007 smash "Home" has sold 2,310,000 copies.
Clarkson has topped the 2 million mark with four songs, more than any other contestant who has ever walked across the Idol stage. Underwood, Sparks and Daughtry are runners-up, with two 2 million-sellers each. David Archuleta and Phillips have each had one.
Clarkson's "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" has sold 3,865,000 copies, more than any other song by an Idol alum. The feisty song, which spent three weeks at # in February and March, is built around philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche's famous quotation, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."
Pop titans Dr. Luke (Lukasz Gottwald) and Max Martin co-wrote two of Clarkson's 2 million sellers, the fizzy 2009 hit "My Life Would Suck Without You" (2,668,000) and the turbo-charged 2005 smash "Since U Been Gone (2,518,000). "Suck" shot from #97 to #1 in February 2009, which set a new record for the biggest leap to #1 in chart history. It stayed on top for two weeks. One Direction performed the song when they were competing on the U.K. version of The X Factor. "Since U Been Gone," which brought Clarkson a Grammy for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance, peaked at #2 in April 2005.
Clarkson's fourth 2 million-seller is "Don't You Want To Stay," her 2011 collabo with Jason Aldean (2,188,000). The song, which reached #31 in April 2011 (and logged three weeks at #1 on Hot Country Songs) brought Clarkson and Aldean a CMA Award for Musical Event of the Year. It also received a Grammy nomination for Best Country Duo/Group Performance. The song is Aldean's second best-seller (following "Dirt Road Anthem"); Clarkson's fourth best-seller.
All four of Clarkson's 2 million-sellers are from different albums.
Carrie Underwood's 2 million-sellers are "Before He Cheats" (3,590,000) and "Jesus, Take The Wheel" (2,071,000). Both are from her 2005 debut album Some Hearts. Both reached #1 on Hot Country Songs. Both won Grammys for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. "Before He Cheats" also won a CMA Award for Single of the Year.
"Before He Cheats," which reached #8 in June 2007, is the second best-seller by an Idol alum. The revenge fantasy underscored Underwood's range. It showed that the nice girl who sang "Jesus, Take The Wheel" could turn around and score with a hard-edged piece of material. "Jesus, Take The Wheel," which reached #20 in March 2006, is a rare song that is explicitly religious as opposed to just inspirational.
Jordin Sparks' 2 million-sellers are "No Air," a collabo with Chris Brown (3,470,000) and "Tattoo" (2,212,000). Both songs are from her 2007 debut album, Jordin Sparks. "No Air," a romantic melodrama about a severe case of love addiction, spent four weeks at #3 in April and May 2008. It received a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals. It's Sparks' best-seller; Brown's third best-seller (following "Forever" and "Look At Me Now," featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes). The rhythm-driven "Tattoo" spent three weeks at #8 in December 2007 and January 2008.
Daughtry's 2 million-sellers are "Home" (2,310,000) and "It's Not Over" (2,229,000). Both are from his 2006 debut album Daughtry. Both received Grammy nominations for Best Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals. "Home" earned its nod in the pop field; "It's Not Over" in rock.
"It's Not Over," which spent two weeks at #4 in February 2007, was Daughtry's first hit as a band. Chris Daughtry had previously charted with a remake of Bon Jovi's 1987 hit "Wanted Dead Or Alive." "Home," which spent two weeks at #5 in June 2007, is the best-selling song by an Idol contestant who didn't win the competition. The bittersweet rock ballad was used as the Idol "send-off song" in Season 6.
Phillip Phillips' "Home" has sold 2,080,000 copies. The song, which spent two weeks at #9 in August 2012, echoes the rootsy folk-pop sound of Mumford & Sons, though let the record show: That British band has yet to land a top 10 single.
P!nk co-wrote "Whataya Want From Me," which she recorded for, but didn't include on, her 2008 album, Funhouse. That was a lucky break for Lambert, whose recording of the song reached #10 in May 2010. It received a Grammy nomination for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.
The sassy "Cowboy Casanova" reached #11 in October 2009. It hit #1 on Hot Country Songs.
The next seven best-selling songs by Idol alums are Clarkson's "Already Gone" (1,802,000) and "Breakaway (1,769,000), Kris Allen's "Live Like We're Dying" (1,750,000), Sparks' "Battlefield" (1,734,000), Clarkson's "Because Of You" (1,729,000) and "Mr. Know It All" (1,680,000) and Brad Paisley's duet with Underwood, "Remind Me" (1,669,000).
In four cases, the best-selling song by an American Idol "loser" has outsold the best-selling song by that season's winner. Clay Aiken's "This Is The Night" has sold 1 million copies, more than Ruben Studdard's "Flying Without Wings" (790K). Daughtry's biggest hits have far outsold Taylor Hicks' top-selling song, "Do I Make You Proud" (709K). David Archuleta's "Crush" (2,082,000) has outsold David Cook's "The Time Of Your Life" (1,463,000). Adam Lambert's "Whataya Want From Me" (1,949,000) has outsold Kris Allen's "Live Like We're Dying" (1,750,000).