The new albums from the Black Keys and Michael Jackson are both in the running for the No. 1 slot on next week's Billboard 200 chart.
As of May 14, the Black Keys' eighth album, "Turn Blue", has the edge over Jackson's "Xscape", but not by much. Industry forecasters suggest the former may sell upwards of 150,000 copies in the week ending May 18, while "Xscape" could sell 140,000. Both albums were released on Tuesday, May 13.
The Billboard 200's new top 10 will be revealed on Wednesday, May 21.
If the Black Keys start at No. 1, it will mark the rock duo's first chart-topper. Their last studio release, 2011's "El Camino", debuted and peaked at No. 2 off a 206,000 start (according to Nielsen SoundScan) and is their best seller, with 1.4 million sold. "El Camino" went on to win the 2012 Grammy Award for best rock album, and was also nominated for album of the year.
As for Jackson, "Xscape" would mark the seventh No. 1 for the King of Pop, who died in 2009. The new set is his second posthumous album of previously unreleased material, following "Michael" in 2011. "Michael" debuted and peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, selling 228,000 in the week ending Dec. 19. It has sold 541,000 to date.
Jackson previously topped the Billboard 200 with "Thriller," "Bad," "Dangerous," "History: Past, Present and Future Book 1," "Invincible" and "Michael Jackson's This Is It."
The first-week sales on "Xscape" might be amplified by a special experience celebrating Jackson during the Billboard Music Awards (May 18). There are no details on what the event will include, but it has been described by the producers of the show as "Michael Jackson like you've never seen him before."
Other albums aiming for high debuts on the Billboard 200 include Rascal Flatts' "Rewind", Dolly Parton's "Blue Smoke" and Tori Amos' "Unrepentant Geraldines".