Los Angeles Times

McPhee-ver Tepid on Album Charts

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Nora Jones smacked around "American Idol" runner-up Katherine McPhee on the latest Billboard album charts.

Jones' "Not Too Late" claimed the top spot with 405,000 in first-week sales, easily outdistancing the debut of McPhee's self-titled debut. McPhee, who lost to Taylor Hicks in May's fifth season "Idol" finale, moved just under 116,000 units.

While the label wants to emphasize that McPhee had the best chart debut for a solo female artist since July 2006, those figures put her right in the middle of the first-week sales pack for "Idol" runners-up.

If you wanted to be positive, you'd say that McPhee beat the snot out of season one loser Justin Guarini (57,000 in first-week sales) and season three loser Diana DeGarmo (47,000 in first week sales). However, the most recent "Idol" runner-up, Bo Bice, sold 225,000 copies of "The Real Thing" when it debuted in December 2005. That's not even getting into the 613,000 in first week sales for Clay Aiken's 2003 debut "Measure of a Man."

Hicks also had to settle for No. 2 when his first release dropped in December, though he sold nearly 300,000 copies.

Both of the season five favorites have taken the back seat to fourth-place finisher Chris Daughtry, whose nearly-self-titled debut sold 304,000 in its first week and made a late charge to No. 1 in January. McPhee, in fact, only edged Daughtry this week, as the rocker is sticking around at No. 3 after more than two months in release, selling 77,000 copies last week.

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