The Billboard 200
— Susan Boyle/Jackie Evancho: The top two rungs of the Billboard 200 chart are brought to you by Simon Cowell’s Syco Music imprint and his “Got Talent” TV franchise. At No. 1, former “Britain’s Got Talent” contestant Susan Boyle holds at No. 1 for a second week with her Syco/Columbia set “The Gift” selling 335,000 (up 5%). In the runner-up slot, 10-year old “America’s Got Talent” runner-up — and fellow Syco/Columbia artist — Jackie Evancho comes in at No. 2 with her “O Holy Night” EP, selling 239,000.
With both albums from Sony Music, it’s the first time a label group has controlled the top two slots since the tally dated Feb. 21, when the Fray’s self-titled album debuted at No. 1 (Epic/Sony Music) while Bruce Springsteen’s “Working on a Dream” (Columbia/Sony Music) fell one spot to No. 2. It’s also the first time one imprint — Syco and Columbia – have monopolized Nos. 1 and 2 since March 25, 2006, when Atlantic did so with Juvenile’s “Reality Check” (UTP/Atlantic/AG) at No. 1 and James Blunt’s “Back to Bedlam” (Custard/Atlantic/AG) at No. 2.
— Lady Antebellum: All but one of 25 of albums that move up on the Billboard 200 this week are holiday sets — a clear indication that it’s the merriest time of the year. The highest-ranking upward-moving title on the list is Lady Antebellum’s “A Merry Little Christmas” EP, exclusively available at Target. It skips up the list 15 spots to No. 24 with 33,000 (up by 18,000 — the largest unit gain on the chart). The biggest positional climb this week belongs to Elvis Presley’s “It’s Christmas Time,” moving 90 rungs to No. 93.
— Marie Osmond: There are four albums on the list this week that take tumbles of at least 100 positions, and all of them debuted last week: Marie Osmond’s “I Can Do This” (down 100 to No. 171), Twista’s “The Perfect Storm” (down 102 to No. 144), Lil Boosie, Webbie, Lil Trill & Trill Fam’s “All Or Nothing” (down 103 to No. 152) and the Floacist’s “Floetic Soul” (down 103 to No. 198). It’s not unusual to see acts with particularly devoted (but limited in size) fan bases collapse hard in their second week, as most of their core consumers purchase new albums upon release.
— Elvis Presley: The King of Rock & Roll’s Cirque du Soleil show album “Viva Elvis” slides down the list 85 spots to No. 133 in its second week (6,000; down 58%). Though the pairing is reminiscent of the Beatles’ “Love” collaboration with Cirque in 2006, their sales couldn’t be any more different. “Viva” has done 19,000 in its first two weeks while “Love” moved 418,000 in its premiere pair of frames.
— Charlie Brown Christmas/Vince Guaraldi Trio: The soundtrack to the classic 1965 animated TV special jumps 22 rungs to No. 159 with 5,000 (up 39%). The program will air twice this season on ABC (Dec. 7 and 16), so further gains are probably in the (holiday) cards. The various editions of the set have sold 3 million since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991.
The Billboard Hot 100
— Rihanna: As previously reported, Rihanna becomes the first artist to take their album’s debut single to No. 1 on the Hot 100 after a subsequent single had already spent time at the top. “Only Girl (In the World)” — her “Loud” album’s first single — jumps 2-1 this week, two weeks after its second single “What’s My Name” hit No. 1.
Why the delay for “World?”
When it debuted with 249,000 downloads — its best sales week to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan — the song jumped 75-3 on the Hot 100 dated Oct. 2, but was stuck behind two huge airplay records with strong digital sales: Bruno Mars’ “Just The Way You Are” and Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie.”
Seven weeks later, “Name” debuted with fewer units than “World” (235,000), though with slightly more airplay than her first single had in her opening sales frame, and was thus able to snare the No. 1 ranking on the Nov. 20 chart in what was a less competitive week.
Now that “World” has soared to over 120 million listener impressions (No. 2 on Hot 100 Airplay), according to Nielsen BDS, it’s able to snare the No. 1 slot in another soft chart week, even though it’s only the ninth best-selling track in the country.
It’s the lowest rank on Digital Songs for a Hot 100 No. 1 since July 2006 when “Taylor Hicks’ “Do I Make You Proud” was No. 18 on Digital Songs. (However, it was No. 1 on the Hot 100 Sales chart, with its physical single release, at a time when the physical singles still held sway on the weekly rankings.)
— Glee Cast/Gwyneth Paltrow: Last week’s “Glee” episode titled “The Substitute” brings only a pair of titles by the cast onto the Hot 100 — each with guest vocals by Gwyneth Paltrow. Their take on Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You” comes in at No. 11 as the Hot Shot Debut, while “Singing in the Rain/Umbrella” opens at No. 18. After topping Hot Digital Songs for the first time last week with its cover of “Teenage Dream,” the ensemble quickly earns back-to-back No. 1s as “Forget You” debuts atop that chart with 192,000 downloads. “Rain/Umbrella” shifts 140,000.
— Cee Lo Green: Green’s “F**k You (Forget You),” meanwhile, is lifted into the top 10 of the Hot 100 for the first time on the wings of the “Glee” cast cover. The original recording, including its non-“Glee”-like blue language versions, is the top Digital Gainer, moving 191,000 (up 94%), a week after its previous best sale frame (98,000). The explicit version makes up 68% of the title’s sales for this week.
— Dr. Dre: The rap legend makes his first chart appearance as a sole lead act in more than 10 years as “Kush,” featuring Snoop Dogg and Akon, debuts at No. 48. The song moved 45,000 during a partial week of sales. He was last on the list with his own track when “The Next Episode” peaked at No. 23 in July 2000. (He most recently shared co-lead billing with Eminem and 50 Cent on the 2009 No. 1 hit “Crack a Bottle.”)
— Michael Jackson: The King of Pop claim his 48th chart entry on the Hot 100, and first since his death in 2009, as “Hold My Hand” debuts at No. 84. The song features Akon, who also appeared on Jackson’s last charting effort, “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ 2008,” which peaked at No. 81 in February of that year. Jackson’s new track sold 19,000 in less than three days of availability as it reached digital retailers on Friday, Nov. 19.