American Idol 2 winner Ruben Studdard finally has his own #1 CD to match runner-up Clay Aiken and Idol 1 winner Kelly Clarkson.

Ruben's debut album, Soulful, opened at #1 in its first week on the Nielsen SoundScan U.S. Album Sales chart (which is also the Billboard 200 chart) for the week ended December 14. Approximately 416, 500 copies of Soulful have been sold since its release on December 9.

Soulful knocked The Diary of Alicia Keys, from Ruben's J Records labelmate Alicia Keys, out of first place -- although Keys held on to second, giving J (co-owned by RCA Records Group chairman Clive Davis and BMG) a solid grip on the top of the charts this week.

Like Ruben, Clay (with Measure of a Man) and Kelly (with Thankful) also opened at #1 in their first weeks. Ruben's sales dwarfed Kelly's first-week sales of 297,000, but were only about two-thirds of Clay's 613,000 opening week. Nevertheless, Soulful is a bonafide hit in its own right -- and, as Ruben always said, the market is big enough for TWO American Idol 2 contestants to be successful.

Not bad for an album that required major revamping at the last minute. One of Soulful's most-discussed collaborations, pairing Ruben with producer Missy Elliott, never happened -- even though the album was delayed four times in an effort to get the tracks done. Ruben told MTV that both his and Missy's "schedules were just so hectic" that the extra time still wasn't enough.

In addition, Ruben's planned collaboration with Ja Rule on "What Is Sexy" was recorded but ultimately dumped in favor of a collaboration with Fat Joe on that song. In a "domino effect," Fat Joe was replaced by Pretty Tony in a duet with Ruben on the song "Can I Get Your Attention?" ... which was one of the initial front-runners for Ruben's second single. Also, two songs that R. Kelly wrote for Ruben, "Send Me an Angel' and "Closer to You," were held back for more studio work -- since R, Kelly and Ruben have yet to work together in person.

With this many leftover tracks with top producers, it looks like Ruben has a big chunk of his second album underway ... even though the first one just came out!