Country starlet Carrie Underwood isn't the only one benefiting from the American Idol finale. With nearly 30 million viewers tuning in, the Oklahoma hopeful was voted the winner on May 25 after joining Rascal Flatts on their No.1 ballad, "Bless the Broken Road." Enough radio stations programmed the collaboration for a No. 50 debut on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, even though the duet has not been officially released as a single.
The trio's original version of the song had already dropped off the country charts, but the massive exposure boosted sales of their album Feels Like Today by 42 percent, with sales of about 65,000 copies in one week. It moves up one notch to land at No. 2 on Billboard's country albums chart. By the end of the month, the album's sales figures should surpass 2 million copies.
However, that sudden surge couldn't knock Toby Keith's Honkytonk University from the top spot, where it debuted last week. Keith Urban slides up a spot to No. 3 with Be Here. Sugarland ascends to No. 4, their highest position yet, with Twice the Speed of Life. Cowboy Troy's Loco Motive falls three spots to No. 5. The latest albums from Gretchen Wilson, Dierks Bentley, Big & Rich, Larry the Cable Guy and Jo Dee Messina complete the Top 10.
Alabama's numerous hits have been repackaged yet again, this time for The Essential Alabama. The two-CD set collects 45 singles from 1980 to 1997 and debuts at No. 59. Ultimate Alabama: 20 #1 Hits, a single-disc collection released in 2004, surfaces at No. 72. RCA Records issued three compilations in 2003 -- In the Mood: Love Songs, The American Farewell Tour and Platinum & Gold Collection.
For the third week, Urban maintains the No. 1 position on the country airplay chart with "Making Memories of Us." Rascal Flatts' "Fast Cars and Freedom" rises to No. 2, and Bentley's "Lot of Leavin' Left to Do" holds steady at No. 3. Trace Adkins' "Songs About Me" dips to No. 4 after peaking last week at No. 2. George Strait's "You'll Be There" jumps three spots to No. 5.
Wilson's "Homewrecker" is heading out, falling two places to No. 6. Sugarland's "Something More" ascends to No. 7, just ahead of Kenny Chesney's "Keg in the Closet" at No. 8, Craig Morgan's "That's What I Love About Sunday" at No. 9 and Joe Nichols' "What's a Guy Gotta Do" at No. 10. Incidentally, Nichols may be wondering that exact thing, as his album Revelation clings near the bottom of the chart at No. 71.
Pickin' on Coldplay: A Bluegrass Tribute clocks in at No. 15 on the bluegrass chart.