It seems Rihanna will yet again be denied her first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 chart. Industry sources suggest that her newest release, "Talk That Talk," released on Nov. 21, may sell around 200,000 copies by the end of the tracking week on Nov. 27 -- but that won't be enough to score the No. 1 album next week.
So who will be No. 1 next week? Perhaps surprisingly, it could be Michael Buble, with his "Christmas" album. Sources say that it will not only easily sell more than Rihanna's "Talk That Talk," but that it could also trump the debut of Nickelback's latest set, "Here and Now."
"Christmas" is on course to sell between 250,000 and 270,000 copies, while Nickelback's "Here and Now" might move between 225,000 and 250,000. Rihanna's " Talk That Talk," on the other hand, may shift 200,000 to 210,000 copies.
"Christmas" will mark Buble's third No. 1 album, following "Call Me Irresponsible" (2007) and "Crazy Love" (2009). "Christmas" could end up being the top selling album every week through the Christmas holiday, much like how Josh Groban's "Noel" took over the charts in late 2007. In its seventh week on the chart, "Noel" jumped to No. 1 and then held the top slot for four more weeks. By the end of the year, "Noel" had sold 3.7 million in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and became the top selling album of the year.
Rather amazingly, Rihanna has yet to score a No. 1 album in her prolific -- yet still young -- career. How prolific? "Talk That Talk" is her sixth studio set in a little more than six years. Despite her staggering success with singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (11 No. 1s and counting), she's never gone higher than No. 2 on the Billboard 200 (with 2007's "Good Girl Gone Bad"). Her best sales week for an album was for 2010's "Loud," which shifted 207,000 copies in its premiere frame at No. 3.
This week's No. 1 album, Drake's "Take Care," will likely fall to around No. 3 or 4, but it's too early to tell what it may sell.
As for the other new releases heading for a top 10 debut next week, there's Mary J. Blige's "My Life II: The Journey Continues, Act I," Daughtry's "Break the Spell," Taylor Swift's "Speak Now World Tour Live" and maybe Big Time Rush's second album, "Elevate." Blige may sell around 130,000, while Daughtry could start with 120,000. Swift is set to sell between 70,000 and 90,000 copies.
Big Time Rush's "Elevate" is perhaps the surprise of the week, as the made-for-Nick TV band will notch its best sales week yet, with around 95,000 sold. That will surpass the group's previous high, when its "BTR" soundtrack opened with 67,000 at No. 3 in October of 2010.
Come back to Billboard.biz on Nov. 30 when we'll reveal the Billboard 200's official top 10 albums, along with their SoundScan-reported sales numbers.