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'American Idol' spinoffs still dominate sales charts

By Wade Paulsen, 06/05/2003 

Even though only two of the five are currently available, American Idol spinoff CDs continue to dominate the sales chart. Continuing in first place is Clay Aiken's RCA CD-single "This Is The Night," backed with the Simon and Garfunkel classic "Bridge Over Troubled Waters", scheduled for release on June 10. In fourth place, behind Clay, Metallica, and Led Zeppelin, is Ruben Studdard's Jive CD-single "Flying Without Wings," backed with the Carpenters' hit "Superstar", also scheduled for release on June 10.

(We hate to digress, but we find Ruben's


choice of "Superstar" to be incredibly bizarre. The song, with music by Leon Russell and lyrics by Bonnie Bramblett, is written from the point of view of a groupie, lamenting the transitory nature of her relationship with a touring musician. Bonnie Bramblett wrote the words in part because she was outraged by the callous way that the men of the Delaney & Bonnie & Friends tour (which included, among others, Russell, Eric Clapton and George Harrison) treated the women with whom they spent time and wanted them to think about how the women might feel. It would seem that Ruben's gender would work against his successful interpretation. Oh well, at least it's a great song for which Richard Carpenter did a great vocal arrangement.)

In 10th place is an RCA CD featuring the Idol season 2 finalists, entitled All-Time Classic American Love Songs. Ruben also sings "Superstar" on this disk; Clay sings "On the Wings of Love"; the other finalists perform various numbers; and everyone performs two songs together.

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Still holding on to a top-20 spot is Kelly Clarkson's CD Thankful on RCA, which checks in at number 18 almost two months after release. Finally, rounding out the Idol presence in the Top 50 is the upcoming eponymous CD from Justin Guarini, also on RCA, which has

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only managed to rise to #33 less than a week before its scheduled release, together with Clay and Ruben, on June 10. Perhaps the actual release of Justin's CD will spur interest in both it and in his upcoming movie with Kelly, From Justin to Kelly, which is being subjected to negative speculation about its commercial potential.

We'll continue to follow the sales charts as a way of evaluating America's real choice between Clay and Ruben, since the results of the telephone voting were suspect. But there is no mistaking the real winner in all of the above sales figures: BMG Music Group, owner of RCA and Jive.

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