Mariah Carey Heading for No. 3 on Billboard 200

Hubert Boesl/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Mariah Carey performs at the 2014 World Music Awards at Sporting Club in Monaco, Monte Carlo, on 27 May 2014. 

'The Elusive Chanteuse' will mark the lowest SoundScan-era first-week sales of a non-holiday studio album for Carey

Diva Mariah Carey is heading for her 17th top 10 album on the Billboard 200 chart -- but the No. 1 slot will likely elude the singer.

Carey's new effort, "Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse," could sell around 55,000 to 60,000 copies in the week ending June 1 (according to industry forecasters), for a possible start at No. 3. That would mark Carey's lowest sales debut for a non-holiday studio album since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991. Her previous low came when 1991's "Emotions" launched at No. 4 with 156,000, according to SoundScan. (Carey has tallied six No. 1 albums, between 1991 and 2008.)

"Chanteuse" was released on May 27 by Def Jam Records -- nearly five years after her last non-holiday studio album, 2009's "Memoirs of An Imperfect Angel." (This is her longest gap between studio projects.)

"Chanteuse" was tentatively earmarked for a release in March of 2013, but was then pushed to July 23, then to May 6, 2014, and finally May 27. The promotion for the new set arguably started in August of 2012 with the release of the single "Triumphant (Get 'Em)," a song which does not appear on "Chanteuse."

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The new album's most recent charting single, "You're Mine (Eternal)," spent one week on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at No. 88 on the March 1-dated chart. The set previously logged a No. 15 hit with "#Beautiful," featuring Miguel, in June 2013. Comparably, the "Memoirs" album launched with the No. 7-peaking single "Obsessed." (Carey holds the mark for the most Hot 100 No. 1s, 18, among soloists. Among all acts, only the Beatles, with 20, have more.)

Carey will likely be blocked from the No. 1 slot on next week's Billboard 200 chart by two holdover titles in their second week: Coldplay's "Ghost Stories" and Brantley Gilbert's "Just As I Am."

"Ghost Stories" blasted in at No. 1 with the year's biggest debut -- 383,000 sold in the week ending May 25, while Gilbert started at No. 2 with 211,000. The two albums might sell, respectively, 80,000 and 65,000 in their second weeks.

After Carey, look for Austin Mahone to arrive with the second-highest debut, as his first album, "The Secret," could start at No. 5 with around 40,000 to 45,000. (Right above him could be the resilient "Frozen" soundtrack, which could finish the week at No. 4.)

The third (and possibly final) debut in next week's top 10 might come from Crowder's "Neon Steeple," which could sell around 20,000 to 25,000. The album is the first solo release from David Crowder, who had previously fronted the David Crowder Band. That group notched 10 entries on the Billboard 200 between 2003 and 2013, going as high as No. 2 in 2012 with "Give Us Rest."

On SoundScan's Building chart (below), Coldplay and Carey are Nos. 1 and 2, respectively. 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.

As for the rest of the top 10 on the Building Chart: Mahone's "The Secret" is No. 3, followed by Gilbert at No. 4 and the "Frozen" soundtrack at No. 5. The "Now 50" compilation is No. 6, with Michael Jackson's "Xscape" at No. 7. The Black Keys' former No. 1 "Turn Blue" is No. 8, while Cher Lloyd's "Sorry I'm Late" and Royksopp and Robyn's "Do It Again" is No. 10. (The latter two titles might not sell enough to finish within the top 10 of the official Billboard 200 chart.)

Nielsen SoundScan Building Chart
RankLW
BB 200
ArtistTitle
11Coldplay"Ghost Stories"
2NEWMariah Carey"Me. I Am Mariah… The Elusive Chanteuse"
3NEWAustin Mahone"The Secret"
42Brantley Gilbert"Just As I Am"
54Soundtrack"Frozen"
66Various Artists"Now 50"
73Michael Jackson"Xscape"
85The Black Keys"Turn Blue"
9NEWCher Lloyd"Sorry I'm Late"
10NEWRoyksopp and Robyn"Do It Again"
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.