Is Carrie Underwood going to become the next Garth Brooks? The way her album and singles keep popping to the top of charts and the plethora of media exposure she's achieving certainly invite comparison to the Great One. Then there's that whole Oklahoma thing.
Brooks built his career juggernaut around being the thinking man's cowboy, while Underwood is still searching for a persona that extends beyond being merely beautiful and talented. But there's plenty of time. And she seems to have the requisite hunger.
This week, Underwood's Some Hearts reclaims the summit of Billboard's country albums chart, even though the CD has been out 74 weeks. In making the bounce back, it sold more than 43,000 copies last week to drive its total sales to 5.3 million units, a figure that dwarfs everything else on the list.
Meanwhile, Underwood's recording of the Pretenders' "I'll Stand by You" debuts at No. 6 on Billboard's all-genre Hot 100 chart, at No. 2 on the magazine's Hot Digital Songs ranking and is the highest new entry on the country singles lineup, checking in at No. 50. (Underwood recorded the song for American Idol's "Idol Gives Back" charity special.)
This week, however, Underwood's "Wasted" ends its three-week tenure at No. 1 on the country singles chart, dropping to No. 3, and Rascal Flatts' "Stand" moves in. Completing the Top 5 are Sugarland's "Settlin'" (No. 2), Billy Currington's "Good Directions" (No. 4) and Toby Keith's "High Maintenance Woman" (No. 5).
A bit farther down, Alan Jackson's "A Woman's Love" climbs from No. 9 to No. 6, Emerson Drive's "Moments" rises from No. 10 to No. 7 and Tracy Lawrence's "Find Out Who Your Friends Are" shoots from No. 13 to No. 9. Brad Paisley's "Ticks" holds at No. 8 for a second week.
There are two other new songs on this week's chart: Gretchen Wilson's "One of the Boys," arriving at No. 59, and Travis Tritt's "You Never Take Me Dancing," waltzing in at No. 60.
Behind Underwood's album, in descending order, are Martina McBride's Waking Up Laughing, Tim McGraw's Let It Go, Alison Krauss's A Hundred Miles or More: A Collection and Taylor Swift's self-titled debut. Bucky Covington, the first album from the former American Idol contestant, slips to No. 7 after debuting last week at No. 1.
Currington's Doin' Somethin' Right -- which has spent 80 weeks on the albums chart -- shows its continued resilience by vaulting from No. 28 to No. 19.
There is only one new album on this week's lineup: The Isaacs' Big Sky, which makes its bow at No. 48. Returning to the charts are Lawrence's Then & Now: The Hits Collection at No. 74 and Johnny Cash's American IV: A Hundred Highways at No. 75.