Kelly Clarkson beats the odds -- Despite the controversy ''My December'' makes a strong debut

By Shirley Halperin
Updated July 13, 2007 at 04:00 AM EDT

Kelly Clarkson is proof that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. After months of controversy surrounding her third album, My December — Clarkson wanted to write her own songs, reportedly against the wishes of BMG Label Group chairman and CEO Clive Davis — the CD sold a respectable 291,000 copies in its debut week. It wasn’t enough to claim the top spot (tween queen Miley Cyrus beat Clarkson by 34,000 copies), but December‘s two-week total of 405,000 nearly matched that of her last CD, Breakaway, which went on to sell 6 million units.

With her single ”Never Again” floundering (as of July 10, it was No. 20 on Billboard‘s Hot 100) and her arena tour canceled, the CD’s bow is something of a victory for Clarkson. Says Billboard senior analyst Geoff Mayfield, ”[Overall] album sales are down 15 percent, so [it’s] more common this year for someone to not sell as well as they have before.” And Tom Corson, exec VP of the singer’s label, RCA Music Group, calls the sales ”a nice start. The story is going to be told in the coming weeks, but it shows she has a very supportive fan base.”