Runner-Up Clay the Ultimate Idol Champ

12/20/2004 at 04:00 PM EST

Runner-Up Clay the Ultimate Idol Champ
Phil Han/ZUMA

Clay Aiken

Clay Aiken

Clay Aiken's star power is still going strong, and even Kelly Clarkson still has something to crow about – though just not as loudly.

With the sales tallies in place, it appears that not every winner and runner-up on American Idol has the chops to go the distance, or even be launched as new recording stars.

As USA Today reports, the second album from first-season champ Clarkson, Breakaway, sold 250,000 copies its first week – a good showing, but 47,000 fewer than her debut CD, which came out closer to her victory on the show.

Second-season runner-up Aiken, whose debut CD Measure of a Man remains the biggest Idol seller (613,000 in its first week, 2.7 million total), is enjoying record sales place for his current Merry Christmas with Love.

But this year's winner, Fantasia, only sold 240,000 copies of her Free Yourself album in its first week, a figure that's markedly lower than second-season winner Ruben Studdard's 417,000. Ruben's new gospel album, I Need an Angel, performed even weaker, selling only 96,000 copies its first week.

As for the second-season runner-up, Diana DeGarmo, her Blue Skies sold only 47,000 copies last week – representing the show's worst. By comparison, Justin Guarini, the first season's runner-up, sold 57,000 his first week out.

Observes Billboard charts director Geoff Mayfield to USA Today: "I think the novelty of buying an American Idol CD may have worn off."

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