New Idol McCreery aiming for Billboard Hot 100 top 10

Fri May 27, 2011 9:24pm EDT

Peter Rice, chairman of Entertainment Fox Networks Group, Season 10 ''American Idol'' winner Scotty McCreery, Mike Darnell, president of Alternative Programming Fox Broadcasting and Kevin Reilly, president of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Co. (L-R) pose after the Season 10 ''American Idol'' Grand Finale at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, California May 25, 2011. REUTERS/Michael Becker/Fox/Handout

Peter Rice, chairman of Entertainment Fox Networks Group, Season 10 ''American Idol'' winner Scotty McCreery, Mike Darnell, president of Alternative Programming Fox Broadcasting and Kevin Reilly, president of Entertainment, Fox Broadcasting Co. (L-R) pose after the Season 10 ''American Idol'' Grand Finale at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles, California May 25, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Michael Becker/Fox/Handout

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LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Now that "American Idol" has crowned 17-year old Scotty McCreery as its latest winner, how is his coronation single, "I Love You This Big," selling?

Presently, industry prognosticators are projecting that the single may sell around 180,000 downloads by the end of the tracking week on Sunday, May 29 -- the best debut sales week for an "Idol" winner's first single since David Cook did 236,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan, with "The Time of My Life" in 2008.

McCreery's 180,000-start will likely enable him to debut within the top 15 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart next Wednesday. "Love" could flirt with a possible top-10 entry.

Runner-up Lauren Alaina's "Like My Mother Does" may sell 140,000, which will probably give it a top-20 entry.

Generally speaking, "Idol" winners first singles get little radio airplay -- which is a factor in determining rank on the Hot 100 (along with sales and streaming data). But because both McCreery and runner-up Lauren Alaina's songs are country tunes, they could earn a bit more airplay than usual, as their songs will appeal to multiple formats of radio stations.

Last year's winner, Lee DeWyze, stumbled with his first single, a cover of U2's "Beautiful Day," which missed all of our radio airplay charts, but debuted on the Hot 100 at No. 24 off the strength of its 95,000-sales start. Two years ago winner Kris Allen launched at No. 11 with "No Boundaries," thanks to a 134,000 start.

(Editing by Chris Michaud)

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