Michael Buble's 'Christmas' Comeback: Album Headed for No. 2 on Next Week's Billboard 200
Michael Buble's 'Christmas' Comeback: Album Headed for No. 2 on Next Week's Billboard 200

More than a year after its release, Michael Buble's blockbuster "Christmas" album is on the comeback trail -- and heading for No. 2 on next week's Billboard 200 albums chart.

"Christmas" could sell upwards of 150,000 to 160,000 copies by the end of the tracking week on Dec. 16, according to industry forecasters. It's benefitting in part by his NBC special "Home for the Holidays," which premiered on Dec. 10 and earned a re-airing on Dec. 14.

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The pop singer's album, released on 143/Reprise/Warner Bros. Records in October 2011, became that year's second-biggest selling album in the United States. According to Nielsen SoundScan, the effort moved 2.45 million in 2011, second only to Adele's "21" with 5.82 million.

"Christmas" spent five consecutive weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, with its final week at the top on the list dated Jan. 7. In all five of its frames at No. 1, the album sold more than 200,000 -- and in three of those weeks, it moved more than 444,000.

The set could rack another week atop the list next week, if only it weren't for Taylor Swift's "Red." The country/pop diva's fourth studio album is set to spend a fifth non-consecutive week at No. 1, moving perhaps 185,000 to 200,000.

Aiming for a No. 3 start is Bruno Mars' new "Unorthodox Jukebox," with perhaps 140,000 to 150,000. The singer/songwriter/producer's second full-length set includes the lead single "Locked Out of Heaven," which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart this week.

Rod Stewart's "Merry Christmas, Baby" is looking for a top five ranking next week as well, with maybe 120,000 to 125,000, as is One Direction's "Take Me Home." Additionally, the latter album will cruise past the 1 million sales mark next week, making One Direction the only act in 2012 to earn two million-selling albums.

Aside from Mars, watch for Game's "Jesus Piece" and Green Day's "Tre" to also make a high start, with both likely to debut in the top 10. "Jesus Piece" might bow with approximately 85,000, while "Tre" could move 60,000 to 70,000.

On Nielsen SoundScan's Building chart (below), Mars leads the pack while Swift's "Red" is at No. 2. The Building tally is a precursor to the final Billboard 200 ranking, reflecting the first four days (Monday through Thursday) of SoundScan's tracking week as reported by six major merchants.

Though Mars' album currently leads the Building tally, "Red" will likely overtake the set during the weekend, hence why we are projecting "Red" will ultimately finish at No. 1 on next week's chart.

Elsewhere on the Building Chart, Game, Stewart and One Direction are at Nos. 3-5, respectively, while Blake Shelton's "Cheers, It's Christmas," is at No. 6.

A "Christmas" album you don't see on the Building chart is Buble's -- and here's why: Older albums like his (also known as catalog albums) aren't included on the Building tally. So don't let its absence fool you; it most definitely will rank highly on the Billboard 200 next week.

Rounding out the rest of the top 10 on the Building Chart: the new "Nashville" TV soundtrack at No. 7, Phillip Phillip's "The World From the Side of the Moon" at No. 8, Green Day's "Tre" at No. 9 and Lady Antebellum's "On This Winter's Night" at No. 10.

Nielsen SoundScan Building Chart
Rank LW
BB 200
Artist Title
1 NEW Bruno Mars "Unorthodox Jukebox"
2 1 Taylor Swift "Red"
3 NEW Game "Jesus Piece"
4 4 Rod Stewart "Merry Christmas, Baby"
5 4 One Direction "Take Me Home"
6 8 Blake Shelton "Cheers, It's Christmas"
7 NEW Soundtrack "Nashville"
8 9 Phillip Phillips "The World From the Side of the Moon"
9 NEW Green Day "Tre"
10 11 Lady Antebellum "On This Winter's Night"
The Building Chart reflects the first four days (Monday through Thursday) of SoundScan's tracking week (which ends Sunday) as reported by six major merchants: iTunes, Trans World Entertainment, Best Buy, Starbucks, Target and Anderson Merchandisers. Billboard estimates that they make up about 85% of all U.S. album sales.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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