'Idol' runner-up Clay Aiken's single remains #1 in sales for 10th week in U.S.
By Wade Paulsen, 08/14/2003
The streak lives. American Idol 2 runner-up Clay Aiken's million-selling RCA single, "Bridge Over Troubled Water" / "This Is The Night" remains #1 on the Nielsen SoundScan U.S. Singles Sales chart (presented by Canoe Jam! Showbiz) for the week ended August 10, its 10th straight week on top. For the second week in a row, Clay edged out Hilary Duff's "So Yesterday" for the top slot.
The continued success of Clay's single at the checkout counters may be due to the fact that, although "This Is The Night" was originally listed as the featured side, "Bridge Over Troubled Water," Clay's cover of the 1970 Simon & Garfunkel #1 hit, is now the side garnering airplay and sales. Meanwhile, Idol 2 winner Ruben Studdard's "Flying WIthout Wings" / "Superstar" on J Records, which has racked up over a half-million in sales itself, remains in third place for the third straight week, after seven weeks at #2. Also, USA Network's Nashville Star winner Buddy Jewell continues to have the top-selling country single, as his sentimental Columbia single "Help Pour Out the Rain (Lacey's Song)" holds on to 12th place in its 10th week in the Top 20.
Clay also continues to top the charts north of the border, as well. "Bridge Over Troubled Water" has racked up its 9th straight week at #1 on the Nielsen SoundScan Canadian Singles Sales chart. However, after eight straight weeks at #2, Ruben tumbled to fourth this week, as Beyonce Knowles' "Crazy In Love" rose to second and Hilary Duff grabbed third. (In the U.S., Beyonce's single has not broken into the sales Top 10 in six weeks of release, although it has remained inside the Top 20.)
Once again, the Nielsen SoundScan sales charts and Billboard airplay-oriented charts are vastly different. Billboard rates Beyonce #1 -- for seven straight weeks now -- and the chart looks like "hip-hop heaven." None of the 4 top selling singles in the country (Clay, Hilary Duff, Ruben and Korn, with "Did My Time") even make Billboard's Top 50 singles ... but number 5, Mary J. Blige's hip-hop "Love At 1st Sight," is ranked 34th with a special designation proclaiming it the "greatest gainer -- sales."
We feel confident in saying that the era when "it's not #1 until it says so in Billboard" is dead and buried -- and has been buried ever since the introduction of the Nielsen SoundScan Sales charts. As far as we are concerned, it's not #1 unless it says so on SoundScan -- because that means someone actually spent money on it. We'll see how long Clay's streak at #1 can continue.