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Clay Aiken's #1 streak comes to an end in both U.S. and Canada


By Wade Paulsen, 09/18/2003 

It took a King to do it, but Clay Aiken's streak of weeks with the top selling single in either the U.S. or Canada on the Nielsen SoundScan charts has finally come to an end. Clay, the runner-up on American Idol 2, watched his platinum single, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" b/w "This Is The Night," drop to second on the U.S. Singles Sales chart and to third on the Canadian Singles Sales chart for the week ended Sept. 14, as the remixed Elvis Presley single "Rubberneckin'" jumped ahead of Clay on both charts upon its release.

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The Elvis remix by DJ Paul Oakenfold, which attempts to rev up one of the King's more pedestrian efforts, topped the U.S. charts for the week on sales of 11,000 units (about 4,000 units ahead of Clay) and placed second in Canada. The new Canadian #1 was Nickelback's "Someday." Prior to this week, Clay had recorded 13 straight weeks at #1 in Canada since its release and 12 weeks at #1 (plus two prior weeks at #2) in the U.S. We guess 13 was unlucky.

Plummeting down the charts was Idol 2 winner Ruben Studdard's gold single "Flying Without Wings," which dropped to 11th in Canada and 5th in the U.S. -- the first time since its release that it has fallen below third place in the U.S., and its first finish outside the top 10 in Canada. The fall virtually guarantees that "Flying Without Wings" will end up as one of the best-selling singles ever that failed to reach #1 on the charts.

"One Step Closer," the single from the American Juniors, also dropped in both charts, to fourth in Canada and 15th in the U.S. in its fifth week of release. Unless the release of the American Juniors' CD Kids in America rejuvenates this single, it looks like it will fail to achieve anywhere near the heights in the U.S. that the original version, performed by an English kids' group called S Club 8 that was assembled by Idol and Juniors creator Simon Fuller, reached in England. Maybe the American Juniors can get Clay and Ruben to make a guest appearance on their next single.

Next up: the Clay Aiken CD, entitled Clay Aiken, which will be released on October 14. Presales of this album on Amazon.com continue to rank in the site's top 20. Following on November 11 will be Ruben Studdard's Soulful, which is not currently ranked among Amazon.com's top 300 -- but which released its cover art this week, while the cover art for Clay's album remains in development.

The absence of Clay's cover art is very interesting, as it indicates to us that the decision to release Clay's album first wasn't merely motivated by the fact that it was ready first, as Ruben claimed. Also, BMG issued promotional material for the upcoming Clay and Ruben albums this week featuring the Soulful cover art for Ruben but using the cover picture from the single for Clay. For Ruben, the promo posters read "Your American Idol"; for Clay, they read "Was He Your American Idol?" (the same tag line used for the single).

We're glad we weren't the person given the task of repositioning the Clay Aiken CD package from a secondary to a featured release; it looks like he or she still has a lot of work to do and not much time to do it.












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