Kelly Clarkson, who saw her singing career launched by appearing on and ultimately winning the inaugural season of "American Idol," has already watched her No. 1 hit "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)" become the biggest selling song of her career. But this week, according to Billboard.com, it also became the biggest selling single of any "Idol" alumnus, topping over 3.51 million units sold.
The single, the title track to her near chart-topping latest album, sold enough copies in the past week to push Clarkson past the former title holder, Season 4 winner Carrie Underwood. The country star's 2006 song, "Before He Cheats," has posted 3.509 million in sales to date.
"Stronger" was the second single from the album, the follow-up to "Mr. Know It All," which also peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Adult Pop Songs chart and No. 10 on the Billboard Hot 100. It is also one of Clarkson's four multi-platinum hit songs, a category in which she also leads. Those songs include "My Life Would Suck Without You," "Since U Been Gone," and her duet with country star, Jason Aldean, "Don't You Wanna Stay."
Clarkson also has the most downloaded singles, according to The Hollywood Reporter: 24.1 million to 22.535 million.
Still, although Underwood may have lost the top-selling single crown, she maintains her lead in overall album sales in the United States, selling 13.2 million to Clarkson's 11.6 million.
The closest in album sales to the two "Idol" women is Chris Daughtry, who placed fourth in Season 5. He and his band, Daughtry, have sold over 6.6 million albums to date.
As for singles, in third place behind Clarkson and Underwood is Season 6 winner, Jordin Sparks, whose duet with Chris Brown, "No Air," has sold over 3.4 million copies.
Besides taking over the top-selling "Idol" singles title, Clarkson made a return to reality television this year in a sort of karmic twist. She landed a role as a mentor on ABC's "Duets." Along with Jennifer Nettles (Sugarland), Robin Thicke, and John Legend, she sings duets with artists chosen from around the country until one is crowned the "Duets" champion. The winner seals a recording contract with Hollywood Records.
"The simple fact that I get to go out and find two people I believe in, sing with them every week and help them accomplish their dream is an amazing thing I can't wait to be a part of," Clarkson said in a statement for ABC prior to the beginning of the season.
"Duets" airs on ABC on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. EST.
"American Idol," which crowned its Season 11 winner in May, will return to Fox Television in January 2013. The show is currently holding auditions, with Chicago being the next scheduled venue (July 10-12) for try-outs in the search for the next Kelly Clarkson (or Carrie Underwood, or Jordin Sparks, or Daughtry...).
(photo credit: Manfred Werner-Tsui, Creative Commons)