'Christmas with Scotty McCreery' was a top selling holiday album for the 2012 season and pushed the Season 10 winner into second place among "Idol" alum holiday album sales.
Although the total number of "American Idol" holiday (read: Christmas music) albums still hover around a dozen after 11 seasons of graduating a host of established and independent artists (and still no collection from the Big Three: Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, and Daughtry -- Chris or the band), the show has managed to see a few of the finalists do pretty well on the seasonal charts. This past 2012 holiday season saw three "Idol" finalists add new offerings to the growing pile. Foremost among them, Scotty Mcreery's sophomore album, a full set of holiday songs that topped the Billboard Holiday Albums chart and peaked at No. 2 on the Country Albums chart and No. 4 on the Billboard 200.
And in mid-December, Christmas with Scotty McCreery overtook the number two best-selling holiday album in "Idol" history. Selling 47,000 copies and holding strong in the Top 20, the album passed Season 7 runner-up David Archuleta's Christmas from the Heart, a 2009 collection that established itself in the No. 2 slot quickly and maintained the position for three years.
Going into the week, McCreery trailed Archuleta by a mere couple of thousand in total sales. Christmas from the Heart accumulated 246,000 in sales over the three-year period. The 47,000 copies sold by McCreery's album lifted it to 291,000 in total sales, according to Nielsen Soundscan (via Roughstock).
Christmas with Scotty McCreery is currently headed toward gold record certification status, although it might have to wait until next year to get there. At present, its sales total 337,000 units moved to date, according to Nielsen and Roughstock. Given that holiday album and singles' sales tend to drop precipitously once the new year arrives, the album could see one or two more weeks of fairly decent sales... and then nothing until next holiday season.
But that is the beauty of recording a holiday album. It is a potential neverending source of income. For instance, one of the biggest selling albums of the 2012 holiday season was Michael Buble's Christmas, which was released in 2011 (and was the top-selling holiday album of 2011). Andrea Bocelli's 2009 top-selling holiday offering My Christmas, not to mention Susan Boyle's 2010 holiday chart-topper The Gift were also big sellers. And the seasonal chart is loaded from October through December with perennial favorites from Josh Groban, Mariah Carey, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Mannheim Steamroller, and Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
Overtaking the No. 1 selling holiday album by an "American Idol" alum, though, will take some doing. In fact, it could take a few years of strong sales and by that time it might be fighting for third place if Clarkson and Underwood ever get around to recording a holiday collection (or simply releasing a compilation album of all the holiday singles they've recorded over the years).
But Clay Aiken's 2004 album, Merry Christmas with Love, will be a difficult album to catch, no matter which "Idol" is doing the pursuing. To date, the Season 2 runner-up and star of Season 5 of NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice" has accumulated sales of over 1.4 million copies since the release of Merry Christmas with Love. That is a formidable amount of sales ground to cover.
Incidentally, Aiken's album was also the best selling holiday album of 2004, no minor distinction itself.
Rounding out the Top 5 for "Idol" holiday album sales are two Season 5 finalists. Elliott Yamin's Sounds of the Season from 2007 has sold over 81,000 copies and Mandisa's rebooted 2008 offering It's Christmas (2012's It's Christmas: Christmas Angel Edition) now has moved over 56,000 copies.
Other "Idol" alums dropping new albums for the 2012 season included Brooke White and Kris Allen, but over the years finalists from Katharine McPhee to Michael Sarver have released seasonal collections.
"American Idol" returns for its twelfth season on January 16.
(photo credit: Walmart, Creative Commons)
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