On the Billboard Hot 100 charts, which evaluate both airplay and sales, the contestants of American Idol 3 have now surpassed the contestants of American Idol 1, although they still lag behind Idol 2.

Billboard's July 17 Hot 100 singles and tracks chart ranks Fantasia's J Records single 'I Believe', which is also the top-selling single in the U.S. for the second straight week, at #6, dropping from its #1 debut. In addition, Diana DeGarmo's RCA Records single 'Dreams' debuts at #14.

Fantasis and Diana give Idol 3 two contestants in the Billboard Hot 100. Since the only Idol 1 contestant to reach the Hot 100 was Kelly Clarkson (who has had two Top 10 tracks, 'A Moment Like This' (#1) and 'Miss Independent' (#9)), Idol 3 has now surpassed Idol 1 on quantity of Hot 100 charting artists. The jury is still out on quality, though.

Idol 2 remains the clear leader with 4 Hot 100 artists, including two Top 10 tracks from both Clay Aiken ('This Is The Night' (#1) and 'Solitaire' (#4)) and Ruben Studdard ('Flying Without Wings' (#2) and 'Sorry 2004' (#9)). The other two finalists to chart are Kimberley Locke ('8th World Wonder') and Josh Gracin ('I Want to Live').

Also, Diana becomes the 11th former American Idol contestant to chart on any Billboard chart. In addition to the seven who have reached the Hot 100, three Idol 1 finalists (Justin Guarini, Tamyra Gray and R.J. Helton) and one Idol 3 reject (William Hung) have earned places on other charts. Not too shabby for a show often derided by music industry professionals as little more than "karaoke singing."