'American Idol' Winners Top Year-End Religious Music Charts

Billboard’s year-end charts for Christian and Gospel music saw past “American Idol” competitors on top, with 2003 “Idol” winner Ruben Studdard claiming the number one spot on the Top Gospel Albums and Top Gospel Artists charts for his critically acclaimed release I Need an Angel.

Clay Aiken, Studdard’s runner up during Season Two of “Idol,” took the top position on the Top Christian Albums chart for his platinum-selling holiday release Merry Christmas With Love, which was also the best selling new holiday album of 2004.

Coming in at No. 2 behind Aiken was San Diego rock band Switchfoot with their double platinum-selling 2003 release The Beautiful Letdown, which held the chart’s top position for 38 weeks. Switchfoot, who took the top spot on the Top Christian Artists list, also registered at No. 7 on the Christian Albums chart with their latest release Nothing Is Sound, which debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard Top 200 in September.

The Top Gospel Albums chart was filled out by old favorites from the genre including Kirk Franklin, Yolanda Adams, Donnie McClurkin, Israel & New Breed, and dance-pop duet Mary Mary, which also registered in the top 10 for the Christian Albums chart with their self-titled release.

Overall album sales for Christian and Gospel music dropped this year, with 2005’s sales at 28.9 million compared to 33.1 million units sold last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

For complete year end chart listings and more information, visit www.billboard.biz/bb/biz/yearendcharts/2005/.