Boyle Back to No. 1 on Billboard 200, Peas Begin At No. 6

Weeks ago -- on paper, at least -- it seemed like the Black Eyed Peas' "The Beginning" was a safe bet for a No. 1 debut on the Billboard 200 albums chart, especially considering how their last set, 2009's "The E.N.D.," blasted in atop the list with 304,000 in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

But no, Susan Boyle returns to No. 1 with "The Gift" (272,000; up 3%) while the Peas debut at No. 6 with 119,000.

Chalk up some of "The Beginning's" soft start to the good-but-not-great response to its lead single "The Time (Dirty Bit)," which has so-far peaked at No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. Last year, when "The E.N.D." entered the Billboard 200 at No. 1 (June 27, 2009), the Peas were basking in the glow of its massive single "Boom Boom Pow," which was spending its 11th week at No. 1 on the Hot 100.

Video: Black Eyed Peas Shape-Shift in 'The Time (Dirty Bit)'


On a brighter note, "The Beginning" gives the Peas its third top 10 set following "Monkey Business" (No. 2 in 2005) and the aforementioned "E.N.D."

"The Beginning" is one of two new arrivals to the top 10 this week, as it's joined by the "Glee, the Music Volume 4" soundtrack at No. 5 with 128,000. The next highest new entries are found further down the tally: Jazmine Sullivan's sophomore album "Love Me Back" begins at No. 17 with 57,000 while Chrisette Michele's third effort "Let Freedom Reign" launches at No. 25 with 42,000.

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Among the non-debuts in the top 10, Taylor Swift's "Speak Now" moves up two slots to No. 2 with 182,000 (down 24%), Jackie Evancho's "O Holy Night" climbs 5-3 with 145,000 (up 2%) and the "Glee" Christmas album rises six rungs to No. 4 with 129,000.

Columbia Records is home to Boyle, Evancho and the two "Glee" albums, thus giving the label four out of the top five albums (Nos. 1 and 3-5) this week -- the first time a label has achieved the feat since Dec. 7, 1996, when Interscope held the entire top four.

Nicki Minaj's "Pink Friday" falls six slots to No. 8 with 103,000 (down 73%) in its second week, while last week's No. 1, Kanye West's "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," descends to No. 7 with 108,000 (down 78%). Rounding out the top 10 are Josh Groban's "Illuminations," rising three to No. 9 with 78,000 (down 21%) and Rihanna's "Loud," moving 6-10 with 77,000 (down 45%).

Over on the Digital Songs chart this week, Katy Perry's "Firework" holds at No. 1 with 212,000 (down 9%) while the Peas' "The Time (Dirty Bit)" rallies 4-2 with 198,000 (up 10%). One new song debuts in the top 10, the "Glee" cast's cover of Florence and the Machine's "Dog Days Are Over," starting at No. 8 with 98,000.

Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Dec. 5) totaled 9.22 million units, down 10% compared to the sum last week (10.24 million) and down 9% compared to the comparable sales week of 2009 (10.14 million). Year to date album sales stand at 281.24 million, down 13% compared to the same total at this point last year (321.85 million).

Digital track sales this past week totaled 21.10 million downloads, down 5% compared to last week (22.16 million) and up 13% stacked next to the comparable week of 2009 (18.75 million). Year to date track sales are at 1.044 billion, up 1% compared to the same total at this point last year (1.038 billion).