Carrie Underwood has become the first “American Idol” winner to post a debut sales week of more than half a million units and the first to have her sophomore effort’s opening surpass her debut.

“Carnival Ride,” the country singer’s second disc for 19 Recordings/Arista Nashville, sold 527,000 copies in the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It is her first No. 1 and the top sales week for a female artist this year.

Digital sales for “Ride” hit 45,000, a new record for a country album.

Underwood promoted the disc with a slew of television appearances, including “The Tonight Show,” “Good Morning America” and the singing of the national anthem at Game 3 of the World Series.

Her November 2005 debut, “Some Hearts,” sold 315,000 copies and reached No. 2. That album rose 21 slots to No. 60 on sales of 13,000; within in the next two weeks, its cume should top 6 million.

Underwood led a country charge at the top of the charts.

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss’ “Raising Sand” (Rounder) sold 112,000 copies to open at No. 2, giving the former Led Zeppelin singer and the Union Station leader their highest chart positions as solo acts.

Gary Allan’s “Living Hard” (MCA Nashville) sold 69,000 and opened at No. 3, the same position achieved by his 2005 release “Tough All Over.”

Posting sales of just a couple hundred fewer was the solo debut from System of a Down’s Serj Tankian, “Elect the Dead” (Serjical Strike/Reprise). It hit No. 4.

Coheed & Cambria’s “No World for Tomorrow” (Columbia) gave the band its highest chart position, moving 62,000 to open at No. 6. Band began a monthlong North American tour Monday in Toronto.

Seether’s “Finding Beauty in Negative Spaces” (Wind-Up) sold 57,000 to open at No. 9.

Neil Young’s “Chrome Dreams II” (Reprise), a sequel of sorts to an album recorded in the 1970s that was never released, drove in at No. 11 on sales of 54,000. Young began a tour of theaters in the middle of October that winds up with  a six-night stand in the middle of December in New York.

“La Vida … Es Un Ratico” (Universal Latino) from Juanes sprang to life at No. 13 on sales of 47,000.

Other top 50 debuts were Hurricane Chris’ “51/50 Ratchet” (J) selling 26,000 (No. 24); Say Anything’s “In Defense of the Genre” (J) moving 25,000 (No. 27); and Ryan Adams & the Cardinals’ “Follow the Lights” EP (Lost Highway) pushing 19,000 (No. 40). Also, Dwight Yoakam’s “Dwight Sings Buck” (New West) sold 18,000 (No. 42) and Steven Chapman Curtis’ “This Moment” (Sparrow) moved 16,000 (No. 47).

Last week’s No. 1, Bruce Springsteen’s “Magic” slid to No. 12 on sales of 51,000. “Magic’s” cume is now 599,000.