Michael Jackson's "This Is It" claims the fifth-biggest sales week for an album this year as it debuts at No. 1 on the Billboard 200—the King of Pop's sixth chart-topping album . . . Additionally, it's Jackson's own best sales week for an album since 1995's "HIStory" started atop the Billboard 200 with 391,000 copies . . . Jackson's new release is one of five debuts in the top 10 this week, joined by efforts from Creed, Rod Stewart, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Sting . . . In Progress Reports, we have updates on rock super group Them Crooked Vultures, Rob Thomas, Jason DeRulo and Janet Jackson.


FLASH POINTS

• To the surprise of probably nobody, Michael Jackson's "This Is It" debuts atop the Billboard 200 with an eye-popping 373,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan—the fifth-best sales week for an album in the United States this year.

• The companion album to the musical documentary of the same name is Jackson's sixth No. 1 on the tally, and it arrives with his best sales frame for an album since 1995's "HIStory" started atop the Billboard 200 with 391,000 copies.

• Jackson collected his first No. 1 with "Thriller" in 1983 and later the toppers "Bad," "Dangerous," "HIStory" and "Invincible." Earlier this year, Jackson also notched a No. 1 on the Top Comprehensive Albums and Top Pop Catalog Albums charts with the 2003 greatest-hits set "Number Ones."

• The "This Is It" film bowed with late-night showings Tuesday, Oct. 27, before a wide rollout the following day. Through Monday, Nov. 2, the film had collected $36.9 million at the box office in the United States and Canada. It's already the second-highest-grossing musical concert film in North America behind "Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour" ($65.3 million).

• "This Is It" is just one of five albums to arrive in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 this week. The second-best debut comes from a reunited Creed, whose "Full Circle" enters at No. 2 with 110,000 copies. It's the band's first studio release since way back in 2001, when its "Weathered" started at No. 1 with 887,000 in its first week.

• Taylor Swift's "Fearless" flies from No. 7 last week to No. 3 this week with 109,000 and a big 225% gain. The set was reissued in a "platinum" deluxe edition last week, with numerous bonus tracks and a DVD.

• Rod Stewart's latest covers set, "Soulbook," sings out at No. 4 in its first week, starting with 84,000. The collection consists of soul and R&B nuggets from the past like Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amour" and the O'Jays' "Love Train." Ever since the surprise success of 2002's "It Had to Be You: The Great American Songbook," Stewart has been steadily releasing standards collections. The first "Songbook" started at No. 4 on the Billboard 200 with 115,000 copies and stuck around the chart for 86 weeks. He then issued three more "Songbook" sets between 2002 and 2005, and all of them debuted in the top two, with "Vol. III" entering at No. 1. After that, he released the 2006 rock covers effort "Still the Same: Great Rock Classics of Our Time," which debuted at No. 1 with 184,000. The collected U.S. sales of the first four songbook albums plus "Still the Same" stand at 9.6 million.

Trans-Siberian Orchestra bows on the Billboard 200 at a career-high No. 5 with its new effort, "Night Castle." The set starts with 83,000—the rock act's best debut sales week . . . Sting's holiday-esque album "If on a Winter's Night" rings in the season at No. 6 on the Billboard 200 with 80,000 copies. It also reaches No. 1 on our Top Holiday Albums chart. It's Sting's ninth top 10 solo set on the Billboard 200.

• Last week's Billboard 200 No. 1, "The Twilight Saga: New Moon" soundtrack slips to No. 8 with 69,000 copies (down 55%), while Michael Buble's "Crazy Love" falls from No. 3 to No. 7 with 71,000 (down 30%). Last week's biggest debut, Tim McGraw's "Southern Voice," falls from No. 2 to No. 9 with 59,000 (down 57%). Rounding out the top 10 is Jay-Z's "The Blueprint 3," which slides six places to No. 10 with 41,000 (down 5%).

• Overall album sales in this past chart week (ending Nov. 1) totaled 6.3 million units, up 10% compared with the sum last week (5.7 million) and down 9% compared with the same sales week of 2008 (7 million). Year-to-date album sales stand at 287.6 million, down 13% compared with the same total at this point last year (332.3 million).



MARKET WATCH

• Album units, current chart week: 6.3 million units
• UP 10% from last week's charts: 5.7 million units
• DOWN 9% from same week, 2008: 7 million units
• This week: The top three albums on both the Billboard 200 and Top Comprehensive Albums sell more than 100,000 copies.
• This week last year on the Billboard 200: AC/DC's "Black Ice" held at No. 1 for a second week, shifting 271,000 (down 65%) while Pink's "Funhouse" bowed in the runner-up slot with 180,000. Five more albums started in the top 10, including John Legend's "Evolver" at No. 4 with 133,000.




PROGRESS REPORTS

• Rock super group Them Crooked Vultures fly in at No. 25 on the Alternative radio chart with "New Fang." The act, which includes Dave Grohl, Josh Homme and John Paul Jones, will release its eponymous debut Nov. 17 through Interscope. On the Rock Songs chart, "Fang," bites at No. 22 while Grohl's own band Foo Fighters rise to No. 1 with "Wheels."

• On the Adult Top 40 songs chart, Rob Thomas extends his unbroken record of top 10 hits as "Someday" climbs from No. 12 to No. 9, giving the artist his eighth straight top 10 single . . . Elsewhere on the Adult Top 40 tally, Lifehouse enters at No. 25 with "Halfway Gone," the first single from its forthcoming album "Smoke & Mirrors." The new set is the act's fifth studio release and is due Dec. 8.

• Jason DeRulo collects his first No. 1 on a Billboard radio chart as "Whatcha Say" climbs to the top of the Rhythmic list this week. Meanwhile, over on the Mainstream Top 40 chart, it holds its bullet at No. 4.

• Janet Jackson nets her 39th Hot Dance Club Songs hit as "Make Me" makes its entrance at No. 50 this week. The A&M/UMe tune is a newly recorded track that will be included on the diva's career-spanning greatest-hits set "Number Ones." The package will be released Nov. 17 through A&M/UMe. Jackson's solo career began on A&M in the early '80s before she moved on to Virgin Records in 1993 and then to Island for one album in 2008. Thus, "Make Me" is the first Jackson cut to sport the A&M logo on the Billboard charts since 1996, when she charted with the songs "Runaway" and "Twenty Foreplay." Those two cuts were recorded for her first greatest-hits package, 1995's "Design of a Decade"—released on A&M two years after she left the label for Virgin.


A LOOK AHEAD

• Among the albums released this week, due on next week's charts: Carrie Underwood's "Play On," the "Now 32" compilation, Andrea Bocelli's "My Christmas," the first volume of the "Glee" TV series soundtrack, Weezer's "Raditude," Foo Fighters' "Greatest Hits," Straight No Chaser's "Christmas Cheers," Slayer's "World Painted Blood" and Amerie's "In Love and War."

• Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2008 when: The soundtrack to the first "Twilight" flim debuted atop the chart with 165,000 copies while Hinder's "Take It to the Limit" entered at No. 4 with 81,000. The previous week's chart-topper, AC/DC's "Black Ice," fell to No. 2 with 160,000 (down 41%).