The Grammys: Adele, Kanye West Top Nominees
The Grammys: Adele, Kanye West Top Nominees

As expected, Adele's "21" album continues to cling to the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 for a ninth nonconsecutive week -- just the fourth album since 2000 to spend that long at No. 1. It sold 137,000 last week, according to Nielsen SoundScan (down 12%).

In the history of the Billboard 200 -- dating back to 1956 -- "21" is only the 12th album by a woman to spend nine weeks or more atop the list. The longest reign for a female album is Whitney Houston's "The Bodyguard" soundtrack, with 20 weeks at No. 1.

Surely "21" won't be No. 1 next week, as Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" is expected to bow atop the list with as many as 800,000-850,000 copies sold.

Back on this week's chart, rock band Seether arrives at No. 2 with "Holding Onto to Strings Better Left to Fray" (61,000), marking a career-high chart peak for the band and its best sales week since "Karma and Effect" bowed with 82,000 in 2005 (No. 8).

At No. 3, the "Now 38" album falls one spot (50,000; down 27%) while Jason Aldean's "My Kinda Party" sees its best rank since its No. 2 debut last November as it rises 10-4 (29,000; up 1%).

Mumford & Sons' "Sigh No More" also moves up, climbing 12-5 (25,000; though it's down 10%), Beastie Boys' "Hot Sauce Committee Part 2" holds at No. 6 (24,000; down 42%), and the Lonely Island's "Turtleneck & Chain" drops 3-7 (nearly 24,000; down 65%). Justin Bieber's "Never Say Never" rises 11-8 (23,000; down 18%), and Fleet Foxes' "Helplessness Blues" descends one rung to No. 9 (a wee bit more than 23,000; down 32%).

Rounding out the top 10, at No. 10, is a debut from the teen Italian vocal trio Il Volo with its self-titled album, selling 23,000. The group performed last week on "American Idol" (May 19) and visited CBS' "The Early Show" (21).

Over on the Digital Songs chart, Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" is still tops, shifting another 297,000 downloads (down 16%), while Pitbull's "Give Me Everything" featuring Ne-Yo, AfroJack and Nayer jumps 4-2 with 212,000 (up 14%). Katy Perry's "E.T." is stationary at No. 3 (173,000; down 14%) while LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem" flies 13-4 with 163,000 (up 68%).

Lady Gaga's "Hair," the fourth commercially released single from her "Born This Way" album, starts at No. 5 with 147,000. Last week, she started at No. 2 with "The Edge of Glory," which falls to No. 14 this week (95,000; down 64%).

All falling one rung apiece this week at Nos. 6-8 respectively: Bruno Mars' "The Lazy Song" (146,000; down 7%), Jennifer Lopez's "On the Floor" (138,000; down 7%) and the Black Eyed Peas' "Just Can't Get Enough" (126,000; down 9%).

Nicki Minaj charges into the top 10 with "Super Bass" zipping 16-9 (113,000; up 25%). It's her first visit to the top 10 as the lead artist on a track. Right behind her at No. 10 is her Femme Fatale tour mate, Britney Spears, with her "Till the World Ends," rising 11-10 (111,000; up 6%).

Pitbull, Minaj and Spears all could have seen some of their gains owed to performances of each song on ABC's Billboard Music Awards on Sunday, May 22, the final day of the SoundScan tracking week.

Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending May 22) totaled 5.4 million units, down 5% compared with the sum last week (5.7 million) and up 2% compared with the comparable sales week of 2010 (5.3 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 119.2 million, down 1% compared with the same total at this point last year (120.4 million).

Digital track sales this past week totaled 24.3 million downloads, down 2% compared with last week (24.8 million) and up 10% stacked next to the comparable week of 2010 (22 million). Year-to-date track sales are at 511.4 million, up 10% compared with same total at this point last year (466.3 million).

Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2010 when: "Glee, the Music: The Showstoppers" held at No. 1 for a second week (63,000; down 54%), blocking the Stone Temple Pilots from a No. 1 debut, as the band's self-titled set settled for a No. 2 arrival (62,000).