Scotty McCreery | 'IDOL' THOUGHTS McCreery sings with a voice, and a subject matter, well beyond his age

Apparently, you love him this big!

Scotty McCreery's debut disc Clear As Day debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 this week, selling 197,000 copies in its first week.

That makes McCreery, 18, the first American Idol winner to top the chart since Season 2 winner Ruben Studdard's Soulful opened at number one back in 2003. It also provides the Idol franchise a much-needed success story.

McCreery's strong sales week improves greatly upon the 39,000 debut tally that Lee Dewyze's Live It Up notched last year, as well as the 80,000 first week sales of Kris Allen's self-titled 2009 offering.

Of course, McCreery didn't sell as many albums as past winners Carrie Underwood or Kelly Clarkson, but considering the current state of the record industry, the fact that David Cook and Jordin Sparks' sophomore albums both recently floundered, and the musical irrelevance of Ruben Studdard and Taylor Hicks these days, Idol was in dire need of a fresh star, and it looks like it's got one with McCreery.

Just for reference, here's how the ten Idol winners have fared in their first post-Idol album releases:

Kelly Clarkson, Thankful – 297,000 copies (2,747,000 total)

Ruben Studdard, Ruben Studdard – 400,000 (1,791,000)

Fantasia Barrino, Free Yourself – 240,000 (1,821,000)

Carrie Underwood, Some Hearts – 315,000 (7,131,000)

Taylor Hicks, Taylor Hicks – 298,000 (705,000)

Jordin Sparks, Jordin Sparks – 119,000 (1,045,000)

David Cook, David Cook – 280,000 (1,325,000)

Kris Allen, Kris Allen – 80,000 (328,000)

Lee DeWyze, Live It Up – 39,000 (168,000)

Scotty McCreery, Clear As Day – 197,000

McCreery also scored himself a few records: He became the youngest solo male artist to ever top the Billboard 200, as well as the first country act to have its first album debut in first place.

This week's Top 10 Albums:

1. Scotty McCreery, Clear As Day – 197,000

2. Adele, 21 – 112,000

3. Tony Bennett, Duets II – 71,000

4. Lady Antebellum, Own the Night – 58,000

5. J. Cole, Cole's World: the Sideline Story – 54,000

6. Lil Wayne, Tha Carter IV – 53,000

7. Feist, Metals – 38,000

8. Rodney Atkins, Take A Back Road – 35,000

9. Jack's Mannequin, People and Things – 31,000

10. Blink-182, Neighborhoods – 31,000

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