'Idol 3' winner Fantasia Barrino's 'I Believe' single hits #1 with 142,141 units sold
By Wade Paulsen, 06/30/2004
American Idol still rules the U.S. charts. But has a little tarnish developed around the edges?
For the week ended June 27 -- the week of official release -- Idol 3 winner Fantasia (formerly Fantasia Barrino) has, as predicted, reached #1 on the Nielsen SoundScan U.S. Singles Sales chart with her three-song J Records single headlined by 'I Believe.' The single jumped from its debut at #14 with sales of 142,141 copies for the week.
Fantasia's single, which also features covers of 'Summertime' and 'Chain of Folls,' sold nearly 140,000 copies more than the #2 single for the week, Idol 2 runner-up Clay Aiken's 'Solitaire' / 'The Way', which has now been on the chart for 16 weeks. However, Fantasia's sales are far and away the lowest for the debut single of an Idol winner in the three seasons of the show -- and only amount to about 36% of Clay's debut single and 50% of Idol 2 winner Ruben Studdard's debut single in their week of release.
Here is a breakdown of the six-figure single sales recorded in the first week by past Idol finalists:
1. Clay Aiken, 'This Is The Night' / 'Bridge Over Troubled Water,' 393,000;
2. Ruben Studdard, 'Flying Without Wings' / 'Superstar,' 286,000;
3. Kelly Clarkson (Idol 1 winner), 'A Moment Like This' / 'Before Your Love,' 236,000;
4. Fantasia, 142,141;
5. American Idol 2 Finalists, 'God Bless The U.S.A.,' 101,000;
6. Clay Aiken (second single), 'Solitaire' / 'The Way,' 100,500.
Since 'Solitaire' / 'The Way' is still struggling to reach gold status for sales of 500,000 copies, it seems possible that the string of gold singles for Idol debuts -- which includes the top three above as well as 'God Bless the U.S.A.' (which had the advantage of being released duringIdol 2 and also raised $155,000 for charity) -- may be coming to an end with Fantasia's debut. Perhaps Fantasia will need to change her image sometime soon by reclaiming her last name (which she may have dropped due to friction with her father Joe Barrino).
The decline in initial sales for 'I Believe' is consistent with the decline in viewership for the Idol 3 finale showdown between Fantasia and runner-up Diana DeGarmo. Considering that Diana's initial RCA single 'Dreams' / 'Don't Cry Out Loud' shipped yesterday, a week later than Fantasia's, but still ranks behind Fantasia (#7 to #4) on the Amazon.com Top Sellers list, Diana will need lots of luck (and sales) later this week to add her name to the American Idol first-week six-figure-sales list.