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Kelly Clarkson back at No. 1

March 18, 2009 | 11:37 am

Clarkson350_3 Kelly Clarkson has flown beyond the horizon with her new album, “All I Ever Wanted,” unseating U2 at the top of the national sales chart. Clarkson’s fourth album sold 255,000 copies in its first week in stores, comfortably ahead of the Irish rock group’s “No Line on the Horizon,” which drops to No. 3 in its second week of release.

The original “American Idol” champ undoubtedly benefited from a blitz of TV appearances during release week, with appearances on the show that launched her career as well as on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live”  and ABC’s “Good Morning America” (pictured here) and “Live With Regis and Kelly.” She’s also gotten a boost from the success of the album's first single, “My Life Would Suck Without You,” which went to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

“All I Ever Wanted” outsold her sophomore album, “Breakaway,” which logged sales of 250,000 copies when it came out in 2004, and went only as high as No. 3 on the album chart. Her 2003 debut, “Thankful,” started out with 297,000 copies, and 2007’s “My December” opened with 291,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Three other albums debuted in the Top 10, including “The-Dream” at No. 2 with sales of 151,000 copies, J. Holiday’s “Round 2” at No. 4 (55,000) and Chris Cornell’s “Scream,” entering at No. 10 (26,000).

There was little upbeat news overall, as total sales were down more than 6% over last week, according to Billboard, while year-to-date album sales are down 12% compared to last year.

-- Randy Lewis

Photo by ABC via Getty Images

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