As the new year is ushered in, it's looking like Susan Boyle will celebrate a sixth straight week at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 next week, as industry prognosticators project her "I Dreamed a Dream" album may sell about 150,000 to 165,000 copies by week's end on Sunday (Jan. 3) night.
As we've been reporting, Boyle's "Dream" has been swiftly catching up to Taylor Swift's "Fearless," which is currently the top selling album of 2009. Now, with one week left to go, it's looking like "Dream" may fall just a bit short in the race.
Presently, "Fearless'" 2009 total stands at 3,157,000, while "Dream" is at 2,982,000.
With "Fearless" projected to sell in the neighborhood of 65,000 to 75,000 this week, it looks like Boyle's "Dream" will not close the gap between the two, and "Fearless" will remain the year's top seller.
If "Dream" sells its projected amount this week, the year will close with two albums -- "Dream" and "Fearless" -- having sold at least 3 million. The last time that happened was in 2006, when three sets managed the trick: the soundtrack to "High School Musical" (3.7 million), Rascal Flatts' "Me and My Gang" (3.5 million) and Carrie Underwood's "Some Hearts" (3.0 million).
2006 did not benefit from having a 53-week sales tracking year, as we do in 2009, thanks to a quirk in the calendar. Without the so-called extra week in 2009, we'd only have one 3-million seller: "Fearless."
"Dream" is the only album that looks like it will sell over 100,000 in the week the closes on Jan. 3. The runner-up on the Billboard 200 may end up being Lady Gaga's "The Fame," which could shift perhaps 90,000 to 95,000 copies. If "The Fame" can rise to No. 2 on the chart, it will be a new peak for the long-running album, which has gone as high as No. 4 on the tally.
No major album releases came to market this past week, so don't count on any eye-popping debuts on next week's chart.
Nielsen SoundScan's sales tracking week, as reflected in Billboard's sales charts, runs from Monday through Sunday of each week. Next week's album charts will be revealed on Wednesday, Jan. 6 and will reflect data through the week ending Sunday, Jan. 3.