The first-week sales results for Kris Allen are in, and they’re not spectacular. The American Idol champ moved 80,000 copies of his self-titled debut album, placing him at No. 11 on SoundScan’s chart (behind Justin Bieber, Casting Crowns, and Norah Jones, though ahead of Leona Lewis), and perhaps more alarmingly, giving him the lowest first-week sales returns for an Idol winner in the show’s eight-season history.

A Jive Records spokesperson, however, says the label isn’t panicking, pointing to the fact that Kris’ lead single, “Live Like We’re Dying,” reentered the Billboard Hot 100 this week at No. 70, and that the singer’s target audience (the Hot AC radio format) is one where slow-and-steady progress is often the norm. In fact, she says, fellow Idol acts such as Daughtry and David Cook have proven that first-week sales are only part of the equation for pop-rock product. “We 150 percent believe in the Kris Allen record,” she said. “And the indicators of radio growth and digital single sales prove we’re correct.”

Still, as an avid Idol watcher and someone who’s been very much enjoying Kris’ CD (see my track-by-track analysis here), I’m perplexed by the sound of crickets greeting his arrival in the commercial marketplace. Sure, season 8 runner-up Adam Lambert has scored the lion’s share of the post-Idol media buzz, but the folks at 19/Jive haven’t skimped on Kris’ project, either. He’s got a luxe-looking video; he’s appeared on Conan, GMA, and Regis & Kelly (as well as EW’s video series Réalité, embedded below); and he’s made a record that ought to appeal to the same exact fans who speed-dialed him to victory during his Idol run.

So how come he’s not neck-and-neck with John Mayer, or at least cracking the Top 5, in his first week out? In other words, what the heck is wrong with this country? Give your theories and your long-term projections in the comments section below. Oh, and do follow me — as well as the lovely and talented Music Mix blog — on Twitter: @EWMichaelSlezak and @EWMusic Mix.

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