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.
Well, that certainly was anti-climactic, wasn’t it? After Matt Drudge reported yesterday afternoon that Scotty McCreery annihilated Lauren Alaina in the popular vote by a nearly 2:1 margin and was going to be named this year’s American Idol, last night’s broadcast finale felt less like a victory lap and more like a really drawn out lead-up to a foregone conclusion. When Ryan Seacrest announced that the 17 year-old country singer from rural North Carolina had beaten the 16 year-old country singer from rural Georgia, both contestants momentarily winced, then looked at each other with the same kind of expression that you see on people who know that a surprise party is being thrown for them before they even walk in the door. Confetti shot in the air, J. Lo pranced around in a catsuit, and Scotty McCreery got kissed by more women on stage than he’s probably kissed in real life.
However, as former Idol champs like Taylor Hicks, Lee DeWyze, and Kris Allen will attest, winning American Idol is the easy part. Staying afloat in today’s highly competitive music industry is another story entirely, and it remains to be seen whether Scotty will be wholeheartedly embraced by the Nashville elite. While Idol has launched Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler into country stardom, it should be noted that during its ten season run, Idol has never produced a highly successful male country singer (unless you count Josh Gracin, which, sorry, we really don’t).
The Drudge Report has revealed the winner of tonight’s American Idol. So, if you don’t want tonight’s results spoiled, then you can and should continue along. For the rest of you, here’s our requisite SPOILER ALERT warning. To find out whether Scotty McCreery or Lauren Alaina won, follow along: