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'American Idol' Scotty McCreery debuts at No. 1

American Idol 2011 winner Scotty McCreery performs for

American Idol 2011 winner Scotty McCreery performs for fans during the American Idols Live Tour at Nassau Coliseum Tuesday evening in Uniondale. (August 23, 2011) Credit: Newsday/Danielle Finkelstein

How big? Pretty big!

Yes, reigning “American Idol” Scotty McCreery arrives on the charts this week at No. 1 with his debut album “Clear as Day,” selling 197,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan, with the help of his hit “I Love You This Big.”

McCreery, who turned 18 on Sunday, becomes the youngest man to debut at No. 1 on the album charts and the first country act to debut at No. 1 with his first release, according to Billboard.

While the strength of his debut is certainly an improvement over last year's winner Lee DeWyze, who was dropped from his Jive contract earlier this month, it's not quite a return to “Idol”'s juggernaut days. McCreery landed the top spot because his album arrived in early October, when competition isn't as fierce as the A-List release month of November, which is usually when “Idol” releases come out. McCreery's first week sales were even less than 2009 “Idol” runner-up Adam Lambert's opening week.

Rounding out the week's Top 5 are Adele's “21” at No. 2 and Tony Bennett's “Duets II,” each climbing a notch, as last week's No. 1 J. Cole's “Cole World: The Sideline Story” slips to No. 5, and Lady Antebellum's “Own the Night,” which climbs from No. 6 to No. 4.

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