“American Idol” ratings were down significantly this season, but winner Phillip Phillips clearly resonated with the reality show’s audience.

Phillips’ victory single “Home” will start its run in tenth place on the Hot 100 on impressive sales of 278,000, which makes for the second-highest weekly digital sales total ever for an “Idol” alum. Only Kelly Clarkson’s “My Live Would Suck Without You,” which came several years into her career as the lead single on her third album, opened to more downloads.

As a coronation release, it easily sets the all-time high, besting the 236,000 for David Cook’s “The Time of My Life.” That song, however, charted at number three on the Hot 100.

Phillips’ tenth place Hot 100 debut narrowly tops the eleventh place openers for season ten winner Scotty McCreery’s “I Love You This Big” and season eight winner Kris Allen’s “No Boundaries.” Season nine’s Lee DeWyze started at number 24, although his opening single was a cover of U2′s “Beautiful Day” rather than an original or little-known cover, which is more typical of the coronation piece.

Phillips also outperformed last year’s winner Scotty McCreery in the album sales category. Phillips’ “Idol” performance compilation moved 24,000 first-week units, narrowly besting the 23,000 for McCreery’s set.

McCreery’s “Idol” and initial post-”Idol” recordings had impressive legs, however, so Phillips’ narrow victory in the opening-week battle is hardly a sign that he will win the war. And when push comes to shove, the strong likelihood is that his first studio album will not achieve the impressive 200,000 sales bow attained by McCreery’s debut, which bucked a trend of two consecutive disappointing releases from “Idol” winners.

The early download data does, however, indicate that Phillips could avoid the disastrous numbers that plagued the records of season nine winner Lee DeWyze even though viewership for this season was substantially lower than that one.

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