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HOME > American Idol > American Idol 2

'American Idol' winner Ruben Studdard receives gold single from RIAA

By Wade Paulsen, 07/29/2003 

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. Ruben Studdard, the winner of Fox's second American Idol but a runner-up to fellow finalist Clay Aiken on the charts, became the fourth Idol recipient of a Record Industry Association of America ("RIAA") award. Ruben received a gold record, signifying 500,000 copies sold, for his debut single "Flying Without Wings" b/w "Superstar." As discussed in this story, Ruben joins Kelly Clarkson (the first Idol winner), Clay Aiken and the finalists from Idol 2 in selling over 500,000 copies of their debut singles.

Although Ruben's single has fallen out of Billboard's airplay-oriented Top 50, it remains the #2 best-selling single in the U.S. and in Canada on the Nielsen SoundScan charts.

By contrast, the single rated as #1 for the third straight week on the Billboard charts, Beyonce Knowles' "Crazy In Love," ranks only #14 on the U.S. sales charts -- below even the Idol finalists' version of "God Bless the U.S.A.," which has now been on sale for over 3 months. It also ranks below Nashville Star winner Buddy Jewell's "Help Pour Out The Rain (Lacey's Song)," which ranks #7 on the Nielsen SoundScan charts but, like Ruben, doesn't make the Top 50 on the Billboard charts any longer.

We don't know whether these chart anomalies reflect a bias against reality TV in general, or just against musical styles other than hip-hop. However, we (and, we presume, the artists) would rather be on top on the sales charts -- which tie directly to money in your pocket -- than the airplay-dominated ones. Maybe it's time that we moved beyond Billboard....


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