Like a true diva, Whitney Houston returns to the Billboard 200 in grand style. "I Look To You" becomes Houston's fourth No. 1 album on the chart, debuting with 305,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan.
It's by far Houston's best opening sales week since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. Her previous best opening week since that year came when 2002's "Just Whitney" bowed at No. 9 in the thick of the Christmas holiday shopping season with 205,000.
"I Look To You" is also the singer's first chart-topper since the Houston-fueled "The Bodyguard" soundtrack spent 20 weeks at No. 1 in 1993. "Look" and "Bodyguard" are joined by Houston's two previous toppers: her self-titled set in 1986, and her 1987 sophomore set, "Whitney." The latter was also the first album from a woman to debut at No. 1, which it did did on the Billboard 200 chart dated June 27, 1987.
In addition to Houston's return, five other new albums grace the top 10 of the Billboard 200. Trey Songz's "Ready" is the second-biggest bow of the week, starting at No. 3 with 131,000, while rap act Insane Clown Posse captures its second top 10 album as "Bang! Pow! Boom!" crashes in at No. 4 with 50,000. Rock band Chevelle sees its "Sci-Fi Crimes" effort enter at No. 6 with 46,000, while Pitbull's "Rebelution" starts at No. 8 with 41,000. Rounding out the top 10's new entries is the Used's "Artwork," which debuts at No. 10 with 35,000.
Miley Cyrus' "The Time Of Our Lives" EP scoots up one spot to No. 2 with 153,000 (up 146%) after its first full week of sales. It debuted last week with just three days of sales after it hit stores on Friday, Aug. 28 -- three days earlier than expected.
Last week's No. 1, Colbie Caillat's "Breakthrough," falls to No. 5 with 47,000 (down 56%), while Kings of Leon's "Only By The Night" slips three rungs to No. 7 with 45,000 (down 14%). Taylor Swift's "Fearless" continues its remarkable chart run, holding at No. 9 with 35,000 (up 4%).
Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Sept. 6) totaled 6.29 million units, up 8% compared to the sum last week (5.82 million) and down 7% compared to the same sales week of 2008 (6.75 million). Year to date album sales stand at 237.4 million, down 14% compared to the same total at this point last year (277.6 million).