American Idol Scotty McCreery Breaks Country Airplay Record With Debut Single

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Scotty McCreery‘s debut single “I Love You This Big” premiered less than a week ago on the American Idol season finale, but the new Idol’s song has racked up enough airplay since then to debut at #32 on the Country Songs chart?the highest debut for a new artist on that chart since it reverted to airplay-only in 1990. (The previous record-holder was also a reality-show winner: Brad Cotter of Nashville Star, whose first single “I Meant To” debuted at #42.) McCreery’s popularity with country listeners?plus unflagging support from his hometown country station, which has rebranded itself as “Scotty 94.7″?led to the new record.

Idol runner-up Lauren Alaina‘s “Like My Mother Does” is also getting enough country radio support to debut at #49 on the same chart. These airplay figures, plus digital sales numbers, could spell good news for the Idol vets on the Hot 100 on Thursday.