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'Idol' champ Carrie Underwood's new 'Play On' album debuts at No. 1

By Christopher Rocchio, 11/12/2009 

Carrie Underwood's third album "Play On" made its debut at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 album sales chart after selling 318,000 copies during its initial week of release, according to Nielsen Soundscan data for the week ending November 8.

The album's debut represents the second time the American Idol fourth-season winner has had an album drop at No. 1 on The Billboard 200.  Her sophomore effort "Carnival Ride" also debuted at the top of the album sales chart after moving 527,000 copies in its initial week of release in October 2007.

Underwood's debut album "Some Hearts" debuted at No. 2 on The Billboard 200 after it sold 315,000 units in its first week of release in November 2005.

In addition, "Play On" represents the largest sales week for an album by a female artist in 2009 and also the second-best sale week for a country release behind only Rascal Flatts' "Unstoppable," which moved 351,000 units when it made its debut at No. 1 earlier this year.

Underwood co-hosted the 43rd Annual Country Music Association Awards ceremony on Wednesday night with Brad Paisley.

Despite her prior success at the event, Underwood was unable to successfully claim Female Vocalist of the Year honors for the fourth straight year, as she lost in the category to Taylor Swift. In addition, Underwood's performance of "I Told You So" with Randy Travis was defeated in the Musical Event of the Year category by Paisley's performance of "Start a Band" with Keith Urban.

Carrie Underwood: An All-Star Holiday Special, a two-hour variety special featuring Underwood, seventh-season Idol champ David Cook, Dolly Parton, Paisley and others, will air Monday, December 7 at 8PM ET/PT on Fox.

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