Industry sources suggest that Boyle's "I Dreamed a Dream" could sell another 500,000 by week's end on Sunday night (Dec. 27). That will be enough to fend off Blige's just-released "Stronger With Each Tear," which is on course to sell perhaps around 300,000 to 350,000 -- and possibly more. The queen of hip-hop/soul's last release, "Growing Pains," was released on Dec. 18, 2007 and bowed at No. 2 with 629,000. It moved to No. 1 the following week.
"Stronger" is Blige's third studio set in a row to be released on the eve of Christmas. "The Breakthrough" started the trend back in 2005, when it launched at No. 1 with 727,000 following its release on Dec. 20.
The next best debut will likely be the "We Are Young Money" collaborations album, featuring artists on Lil Wayne's Young Money label. The rapper himself appears on the majority of the set's tracks, in addition to such artists as Jae Millz, Gudda Gudda and Mack Maine. "We Are Young Money" is projected to move somewhere between 100,000 and 120,000 copies.
Also of note is the reissue of Eminem's "Relapse" album with additional tracks. The combined sales of the deluxe package, "Relapse: Refill," along with the original release may be in the range of 85,000 to 100,000.
Other albums that will debut on the chart, but with less impressive opening-week figures, include Mudvayne's self-titled set (with perhaps 15,000 to 20,000) and the "Nine" film soundtrack (also with 15,000 to 20,000).
Nielsen SoundScan's sales tracking week, as reflected in Billboard's sales charts, runs from Monday through Sunday of each week. Next week's album charts will be revealed on Wednesday, Dec. 30 and will reflect data through the week ending Sunday, Dec. 27.