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Carrie Underwood Moves Past Kelly Clarkson In Top US Album Sales By An American Idol Artist

By December 4, 2009

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For many years now Kelly Clarkson has reigned as the most commercially successful of any American Idol contestant. Now there is at least one chink in that armor. Carrie Underwood has now taken the crown for the top selling album artist in the US among AI competitors. Underwood's current total now stands at a lofty 10,539,000. Kelly Clarkson is not far behind with 10,428,000. Underwood's first release Some Hearts also reigns as the bestselling individual album by an American Idol artist with seven million copies compared with Kelly Clarkson's six million of Breakaway. Kelly Clarkson still holds the worldwide albums sales title with 23 million albums sold compared with a mere 14 million for Carrie Underwood. US pop music exports better in general than US country music.

In case you were wondering, the top five album artists in sales among American Idol contestants:

  • Carrie Underwood - 10,539,000
  • Kelly Clarkson - 10,428,000
  • Daughtry - 5,356,000
  • Clay Aiken - 4,910,000
  • Ruben Studdard - 2,532,000

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Photo by Jason Merritt / Getty Images


December 4, 2009 at 12:19 pm
(1) PT says:

Worldwide sales for Kelly are greater since she is an international pop star. Carrie does what she does well, but she’s not shooting it around the world the way Kelly is.

December 4, 2009 at 12:32 pm
(2) Philip says:

Ummm US okay, but Kelly is great on Single sales.. Also Internationally KElly has sold over 23 Million Albums…

Chicago’s #1 Kelly Clarkson Fan
Philip Leodoro

December 4, 2009 at 6:18 pm
(3) Paula says:

Carrie Underwood only sings country. Kelly Clarkson can sing anything and everything

December 4, 2009 at 7:53 pm
(4) tony1949 says:

kelly songs get play on pop and Carrie Underwood get to get play on pop and country.witch is not fair she gets more people to hear songs and more radio and spines. that why she move to the top kelly still sings better.

December 4, 2009 at 8:22 pm
(5) Jim says:

You have got to be kidding.
She is, she is not! They are both excellent artists. They both do a great job. I prefer Carrie but that isn’t taking anything away from

December 5, 2009 at 9:38 am
(6) CareBear says:

I’m a fan from Malaysia, and Carrie IS an international star as well as Kelly. Carrie has a lot of international fans, in case you didn’t know. From Malaysia, Philippines, China, Korea, Singapore, Pakistan, UK, etcs…
Carrie can sing everything actually, country(her original genre), pop (several during AI), rock (Alone by Hearts), but she only records country songs for her albums. She’s staying true to country and never think of changing her genre, unlike some ppl.
Anyway,Congrats Carrie for being an American Idol contestant with the most sells! :)

December 5, 2009 at 9:41 am
(7) Gina says:


December 5, 2009 at 9:50 am
(8) izzatKC says:

i’m also a kelly clarkson fan from malaysia and i think we shouldn’t compared based on US sales only while both of the singer have their own fans around the world. so kelly still lead the AI alumni album sales with 23 milion compared to carrie with 14 milion.
kelly always try to branch her genre of music, that’s why she has a fans that like diffrent genre of music


December 5, 2009 at 2:15 pm
(9) tony1949 says:

well what would you do if Carrie. kelly still can sing better she is a power house voice and Carrie does not i do not care how you look at it.kelly does not need a side show with guys all around danceing all over to make it.she was the best on ama show .

December 5, 2009 at 8:19 pm
(10) bristaci says:

Those of you saying Kelly sings better than Carrie need to stop because you have no sense of music in any way, shape, or form if you can say that. They are both FANTASTIC.

Kelly is pop. She’s done some songs of country. But she’s pop. Maybe rock, too.
Carrie is country. She’s done some songs of pop. But she’s country.

Country sells better in the US, while pop sells worldwide. The fact that Carrie can still get nearly 4 million copies sold worldwide of country is pretty amazing! Carrie > Kelly in U.S. sales. Kelly > Carrie in worldwide sales. Simple as that.
It’s like comparing apples and oranges when you try to compare these 2 vocally. They’re both powerhouses.

December 5, 2009 at 10:49 pm
(11) archangel says:

kelly clarkson is still my favorite. she’s amazing! i love carrie too. but she’s not my role model anymore. i didn’t like her performance from ama’s. she’s still amazing though.

December 6, 2009 at 5:51 pm
(12) Debbie says:

I hate when people compare Carrie and Kelly. My preference has always been Kelly. She has a powerhouse voice and can sing anything. She’s not into all the glam and bling like Carrie is. It is about music, not fashion. But Carrie is great too. I just prefer Kelly Clarkson. Even met her. So down to earth and loves her fans.

December 6, 2009 at 6:28 pm
(13) Trish says:

Carrie Underwood is far superior vocally to Kelly Clarkson. Kelly had a few year head start before Carrie won Idol and Kelly has started to decline wile Carrie is bigger than ever!

December 7, 2009 at 2:35 pm
(14) Amy says:

Trish obviously has no musical knowledge or taste at all. Carrie does not have a better voice than Kelly. Compare their AMA performance and go back and watch all of their Idol performances. She can only sell her music on Idol (which is why she has to go back and peddle there every season), and Country fans will by anything that’s the latest trend-look at taylor Swift. Carrie had to slut herself up and date a football player to try and get more recognition.

She should just stick to singing.

December 7, 2009 at 5:22 pm
(15) chriss says:

Kelly Clarkson is the most talented, versatile, interesting, and artistic. Kelly sings way better than Carrie. Kelly takes more chances, and can sing everything. I feel Carrie is limited, and her voice is high and shrilly. She can really only sing country, and her appearance helps her success. Kelly Clarkson is a real artist who has excelled because of her talent and amazing voice. Kelly lives in Texas, and stays out of the limelight. All she needs is her voice. She will be a star forever because she is a real artist.

December 7, 2009 at 5:31 pm
(16) sassy says:

I agree with Amy. Kelly has the best vocals, and is so much more of an artist. Carrie’s voice is boring, high, and twangy. Kelly Clarkson has the greatest voice of the decade. Carrie is just a pretty country singer. Kelly Clarkson is the real deal. She is an international superstar with a voice that knows no boundries. She takes chances, can sing anything, and has an interesting dark side. She is utterly amazing and takes my breath away.

December 7, 2009 at 10:55 pm
(17) Aries De Guzman says:

woah!!!! for me carrie is more better than kelly!!!!! from single to single!!!!!!

she deserved this success!!!!!!

And most of that!!!! shes hot and sexy!!!

go carrie underwood!!!

December 8, 2009 at 1:09 am
(18) mark says:

Amy doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Carrie slutting herself up to get a lot of recognitions? C’mon look at kelly… How abou those dumbass “expressions”? You’re talking as if u know everything… She always goes back to Idol since she’s really grateful of what the show has done to her… She always mentions the show everytime she wins… And about vocals? Why are u comparing an apple and a mango… Country and pop are totally different… So don’t act as and think as if u know every single detail of them…

December 21, 2009 at 1:37 pm
(19) jay says:

As a music major who has studied music, Kelly is definitely one of the top singers in today’s industry among ALL GENRES. Kelly has a 4 octave range and can access the whistle register. Kelly has hit an A5 and a C6 in chest. Kelly also sang an F#6 note in Natural Woman. So in terms of pure technical vocal abilties, Kelly is better. Kelly also has the ability to manipulate her voice to fit a certain genre. When Carrie sings pop or rock, she is still singing in a country style. She doesn’t add the rock rasp and growls and grit to sound authentic. Kelly adds rasp, growls, twangs, melisma, or sings in mostly a head voice depending on the genre. That is TRUE versatility. Example look up on youtube “Kelly Clarkson Tony Bennett”…notice the change in tone and phrasing to sound authentically big band/jazz. (Carrie is great too in her own way..not trying to diss her)

December 24, 2009 at 10:40 am
(20) Donald Hinkle says:

Carrie is a Slut? She dated Romo for a short time. She is now engaged to a hockey player that most people haven’t heard of. Tell me one person that bought a cd because she dated Romo? If you find one they are idiots! Bush league Ami!

December 27, 2009 at 8:25 am
(21) allsanesofme says:

You guys are just pre-judging without even knowing them in person. You don’t have to put one down to raise the other.

January 15, 2010 at 4:51 am
(22) stranger888 says:

Carrie is awesome!!!!
Just Kelly Clarkson is better :-P and always will be a step up above Carrie, because Kelly can sing whatever and make it sound good, where Carrie can only make country and some pop sound good.


January 15, 2010 at 5:00 am
(23) Jess2012 says:

you want to see who is the best at singing?
seriously, go on youtube and type this in “Kelly Clarkson Cryin” the notes that she hits in that song and the way she sings it is beyond ANYTHING Carrie could ever ever ever even dream of doing… and that is why Kelly Clarkson will always be a better singer then Carrie. Really Carrie has sex appeal going for her and in a couple of years that is going to go, then she will just be another faith hill trying to get attention

January 17, 2010 at 4:27 pm
(24) zingbing says:

It’s not hard to figure out. Some diehard Kelly fans are in denial, obviously, but since I’m a fan of BOTH of them I can point out the simple truth. It’s true that Kelly has more over all sales because they are spread out and her music can be played in other countries. But the reality is Carrie is doing better because she’s only been had records out for 4 or 4.5 years and she already has out sold Kelly in the U.S.

And Kelly has been at this 7.5 approaching 8 years. Any one can go on about Kelly’s international sales, but Carrie wasn’t set up the same way, nor is she the same type of artist. Plus Carrie is a bit handicapped if in other countries they don’t want country as much. So it doesn’t boil down to talent, but what people are familiar with. If Kelly has done as well as Carrie, then why couldn’t she have more U.S. sales than Carrie given she had double the time, nearly 8 years and Carrie only had 4.5?! One Carrie’s music is in a place where it’s played, she out sells Kelly. Both Kelly and Carrie have mass exposure in the U.S., so they can be compared more evenly and fairly. Carrie is not being pushed the same way in other countries. Next look at the fact that Carrie now has 10 number one hits and Kelly has how many? I think it’s like 4? perhaps 5. This shows that in the areas Carrie is popular she has more number ones. I personally think these comparisons are silly, but if you want to get right down to it. It’s pretty obvious Carrie is out selling Kelly, other wise she wouldn’t be catching up. Give it 3 more years and see what happens…

January 17, 2010 at 4:29 pm
(25) zingbing says:

I’ll also add that some here are saying Kelly is best at singing. I think it’s pretty close, but think Kelly may be a little better. However, it’s all wasted on her albums and shows. She sings NOTHING like she did in 2002 now. IN fact some of her live performances are, gasp, off key and strained. I know Kelly is far better than this. Also her albums and singles don’t even use her range. So is there any point is the tiny difference between her voice and Carries? Nope.

January 17, 2010 at 4:41 pm
(26) zingbing says:

typo: meant to say, So is there any point in comparing the tiny difference between her voice and Carries? no, not really since Kelly rarely uses her voice like she used to. Also above on #24, I meant, “Once Carrie’s music is in a place where it’s played”, etc.

January 19, 2010 at 10:32 pm
(27) w says:

A little biased aren’t we zingbing. Carrie has ten number one singles? Not on the Hot 100 she doesn’t. But Kelly has two and many top ten hits on the Hot 100. Kelly sings better than Carrie in my opinion because she uses her voice to conduct an emotion. Carrie just sings in a show-off sort of way…and it’s always so devoid of emotion.

In the end, men lie, women lie, numbers don’t. In the US Carrie has sold more, but worldwide Kelly has. Past that it’s all just a matter of preference. Subjective.

May 31, 2010 at 8:51 pm
(28) Bill Steward says:

Most of you are missing the bigger point of this OLD News Update… Carrie moved ahead of Kelly in American Album Sales and remember that Kelly has been singing 2 1\2 years longer than Carrie and Kelly has also released 4 albums and Carrie has only release 3 albums… And yet Carrie has still gone ahead of Kelly in American Sales… I think that is a pretty good achievement for Carrie and yes, I’m very bias…. : )

May 31, 2010 at 9:15 pm
(29) Bill Steward says:

OK, I just had to respond to what “W” said about international sales… I mean no disrespect to any other country but… International sales and concerts mean nothing… How many bands have you ever heard about that can’t tour here in America anymore because they can’t fill the seats or sell albums but they are still huge in foreign countries, there are 100′s of them… American sales is what really counts for American Artists, and when you start having to tour overseas just to sell albums and try to compete with other artist’s “American sales”, I think you are having a problem that needs to be addressed, and not by just adding more international tour dates either. Kelly started having an image problem, she couldn’t fill concert seats, so, she caved and started adding more international tour dates, now her American Sales are suffering… I wonder why… I’m just saying!!! : )

January 15, 2011 at 9:37 pm
(30) Legend says:

LMFAO. Worldwide sales are MUCH more important than US sales. People act like Kelly has been around so much longer. Uh, Carrie has been out for six years, Kelly has been out for eight years. Barely a difference. Call me when Carrie can sell out arenas across the globe like Kelly can.

June 2, 2010 at 8:36 pm
(31) ANNA says:

They are both great! But Adam Lambert will far surpass them both!

January 15, 2011 at 9:39 pm
(32) Legend says:

LOL. Adam Lambert is a massive flop. He’s had one semi-hit. Did his album even go platinum?


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