Mercury Nashville/19 Recordings/Interscope artist Scotty McCreery debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 and Top Country Albums charts with Clear As Day, making him the youngest male in history to open at the top of the all-genre chart with a debut release. This is also the highest first-week album sales of any solo country artist in 2011.

With first-week sales totaling 196,739, he is the first new country artist this year to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. He has the second-highest debut week for a new artist in all genres in 2011,  behind rapper J.Cole.

He is the first American Idol winner in eight years to land his debut album atop the Billboard 200 and the first country male singer from the show to do so. This is the first debut by a new country artist to top 100,000 in first-week sales since Carrie Underwood’s in 2005.

“My hopes were just to go out there and have fun and let people know that the album was out there. Everybody hopes for the number one, but you never really expect it. To see it up there is pretty incredible,” says Scotty, who turned 18 on Sunday. “It’s a very good birthday present! I can’t think of anything to top it!”

Scotty appeared on Today, Live with Regis and Kelly, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Ellen during release week, while the Oct. 3 premiere of GAC’s Introducing: Scotty McCreery earned high ratings.

An estimated 15,000 people attended his Album Release Party Homecoming Concert and Birthday Celebration that was held at the Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek in Raleigh, N.C. He was presented with a gold record by Mercury Nashville and Interscope staffers during the event to celebrate achieving a gold certification in digital sales for “I Love You This Big.”

“We are proud to be part of this project,” says Luke Lewis, chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group Nashville, which includes Mercury Nashville. “It couldn’t have happened to a nicer young man.”

Says Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Interscope Geffen A&M, “It’s rare that someone with a truly honest voice has a first album that debuts at number one.  It’s an exciting thing to be a part of.”

In May, Scotty won Season Ten of American Idol, becoming the youngest male winner in the show’s history. A record-breaking 122.4 million votes were cast for the finale. The final show garnered 29.3 million viewers and 38.6 million people tuned in to see the winner’s name announced.

He continues the success that began with Season One winner Kelly Clarkson, who premiered at No. 1 in 2003. For ten seasons, American Idol winners and finalists have steadily topped the Billboard charts.

“What a fantastic few days this has been for Scotty,” says Simon Fuller, creator and executive producer of American Idol and CEO/Founder of XIX Entertainment.   “He turned 18 on Sunday and now he has the number one-selling album in America, an incredible achievement for someone so young. Scotty is a true talent; he will stand the test of time and I am honored to be helping guide his career.”

People magazine says, “From the moment the American Idol finalists first squared off last season, it was as clear as his baby blues that Scotty McCreery was a natural-born country star. After taking the title in May, the North Carolina native, who turns 18 on Oct. 9, brings his old soul, easy charm and—his killer weapon—that preternaturally deep voice to winning debut. Producer Mark Bright—whose credits include another American Idol, Carrie Underwood— wisely plays up McCreery’s traditional sensibility and rounds up some good tunes.”

Scotty will sing the national anthem at Game One of the World Series on Oct. 19.