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The top two finalists from the fourth season of “American Idol” make their debuts on the Billboard charts under their own names this week. This may come as a surprise to those who didn’t expect Carrie Underwood or Bo Bice to appear on a Billboard chart until the release of their respective versions of “Inside Your Heaven” later this month. The two finalists both make their debuts with other songs.
Like Ruben Studdard and Clay Aiken after season two of the popular talent search series, Underwood and Bice are tied for their debut dates on the Billboard charts.
Underwood makes her first chart appearance with two debuts this week. On the Hot Country Songs chart, her version of Rascal Flatts’ “Bless the Broken Road,” featuring the group, is new at No. 50. On the Hot Digital Songs tally, her track from the album “American Idol Season 4: The Showstoppers” (RCA), a version of Martina McBride’s “Independence Day” (Arista), enters at No. 63.
Three rungs higher, Bice’s track from the same compilation album, his take on Gavin DeGraw’s “I Don’t Want To Be,” bows at No. 60. That makes Underwood and Bice the 14th and 15th ”American Idol” contestants to have a Billboard chart entry under their own names. The first 13: Kelly Clarkson, Justin Guarini, Ruben Studdard, Clay Aiken, Kimberley Locke, Tamyra Gray, Josh Gracin, William Hung, Fantasia, Diana DeGarmo, R.J. Helton, George Huff and Jim Verraros.
Underwood is the second “Idol” singer to show up on the Hot Country Songs list. Gracin, the fourth-place finalist from season two, is already on his third hit. “Stay With Me (Brass Bed)” (Lyric Street) rises 39-35 this week and is the follow-up to the No. 1 single “Nothin’ to Lose.”
Verraros, who placed in the top 10 during the first season of “Idol,” makes a 25-21 move this week on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart with “You Turn It On” (Koch). Locke, who had a top 10 Adult Contemporary hit with “8th World Wonder,” is having quick success with “I Could” (Curb), which makes a 36-28 move in its second week on that chart. Clarkson continues to have a rare three songs inside the top 40 of the Hot 100, as ”Breakaway” (Walt Disney/Hollywood) rebounds 40-38, “Since U Been Gone” (RCA) declines 7-9 and “Behind These Hazel Eyes” climbs 8-6.
While he hasn’t charted under his own name yet, Underwood and Bice’s fellow fourth season finalist Constantine Maroulis beat them to the charts with his band Pray For The Soul Of Betty. A self-titled album released on baby Julius Productions/Koch debuted and peaked at No. 129 the week of May 28.