Susan Boyle's "I Dreamed a Dream" retains the No. 1 position on the Billboard 200 for a third straight week, shifting 582,000 copies. So far, the set has sold 1.8 million and is racing after Taylor Swift's "Fearless," currently the top-selling album of 2009, with 2.7 million. The highest debut on the chart is the second volume of the soundtrack from Fox TV's "Glee," bowing at No. 3 with 173,000. Next in line in terms of debuts is Chris Brown's "Graffiti," at No. 7 with 102,000.



FLASH POINTS

• Susan Boyle remains atop the Billboard 200 for a third week with "I Dreamed a Dream," selling 582,000 copies (up 10%). The set is only the second album to spend three weeks at No. 1 this year. Taylor Swift's "Fearless" is the other, with seven weeks at No. 1 in the 2009 calendar year, in addition to three frames atop the tally in late 2008.

• "I Dreamed a Dream" is only the eighth album to sell at least 500,000 copies in each of its first three weeks of release since SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. And it's the only album by a woman to do so.

• The last set to charge through 500,000 in each of its first three stanzas was 50 Cent's "Get Rich Or Die Tryin'" in March 2003. It moved 872,000 in its debut week, followed by 822,000 in week two and 520,000 in week three. Can "Dream" tally up another half-million this coming week? Considering the way it's sold so far, don't bet against it.

• Next week, industry prognosticators suggest Boyle will likely stay firm at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, while the top debut will be Alicia Keys' "The Element of Freedom." Keys' last set, "As I Am," released during Thanksgiving week of 2007, started with 742,000 at No. 1.

• But let's get back to this week's Billboard 200. Andrea Bocelli's "My Christmas" continues to play runner-up to Boyle's "The Dream," as the former finds itself stuck at No. 2 for a fifth week (400,000; down 7%). The top debut on the chart this week is the second installment of the "Glee" TV soundtrack, singing out at No. 3 in its first week with 173,000. The set, released the same week the Fox TV show aired its fall finale, follows the first "Glee" album, which debuted at No. 4 in November with 113,000. This week, the first "Glee" collection rises from No. 20 to No. 11 with 85,000 (up 57%).

• The second-biggest debut this week comes from Chris Brown, who sees his third album, "Graffiti," bow at No. 7 with 102,000. His last set, "Exclusive," debuted at No. 4 in 2007 with 294,000. Rounding out the top entries on the chart this week is Gucci Mane's "The State Vs. Radric Davis," at No. 10 with 90,000.

• As for the other non-debuts in the top 10, Taylor Swift's "Fearless" moves down one rung to No. 4 with 168,000 (up 32%) while Carrie Underwood feels the impact of her Fox TV Christmas special last week, as her "Play On" climbs from No. 6 to No. 5 with 107,000 (up 32%). Lady Gaga's "The Fame" falls one position to No. 6 (103,000; down 23%), Justin Bieber's "My World" zips from No. 12 to No. 8 (97,000; up 45%), and Michael Buble's "Crazy Love" inches up one slot to No. 9 (92,000; up 28%).

• Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Dec. 13) totaled 12 million units, up 18% compared with the sum last week (10.1 million) and down 7% compared with the same sales week of 2008 (13 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 342.3 million, down 13% compared with the same total at this point last year (394.2 million).



MARKET WATCH

• Album units, current chart week: 12 million units
• UP 18% from last week's charts: 10.1 million units
• DOWN 7% from same week, 2008: 13 million units
• This week: The top seven albums on the Billboard 200 sell more than 100,000 copies each.
• This week last year on the Billboard 200: Taylor Swift's "Fearless" flew back to No. 1, up one slot, with 249,000 (up 29%) while the previous week's topper, Britney Spears' "Circus," fell to No. 2 with 200,000 (down 60%). The chart's highest debut was Musiq Soulchild's "On My Radio" at No. 11 with 91,000.


A LOOK AHEAD

• Among the albums released this week, due on next week's charts: Alicia Keys' "The Element of Freedom," Robin Thicke's "Sex Therapy" and Phil Vassar's "Traveling Circus."

• Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2008 when: Taylor Swift's "Fearless" held at No. 1 with 330,000 (up 33%) while Keyshia Cole's "A Different Me" started at No. 2 with 322,000 and Jamie Foxx's "Intuition" bowed at No. 3 with 265,000. Fall Out Boy's "Folie a Deux" rounded out the debuts in the top 10, entering at No. 8 with 150,000.