Chrisette Michele celebrates her first No. 1 album as “Epiphany” arrives at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 . . . With 83,000 sold, it marks the best sales week for the young singer, but the lowest sales total for a No. 1-debuting album in the 18-year history of Nielsen SoundScan . . . The week’s second-biggest bow comes from Ciara’s third album, “Fantasy Ride,” which begins at No. 3 with nearly 81,000 . . . One more album arrives in the top 10: Ben Harper and Relentless7’s “White Lies for Dark Times” at No. 9 with 34,000 . . . In Progress Reports, we’ve got updates on Daughtry, Sugarland, Beyonce and Kelly Rowland.
Chrisette Michele notches her first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 as her sophomore set, “Epiphany,” debuts atop the list with 83,000. She edges out the seventh week of the “Hannah Montana: The Movie” soundtrack (No. 2 with 82,000) and the arrival of Ciara’s third album, “Fantasy Ride,” at No. 3 with not quite 81,000.
So that’s the good news. The bad news? Michele’s opening of 83,000 is the lowest sum for a No. 1-debuting album in Nielsen SoundScan’s 18-year history. Previously, the low-water mark was made by Johnny Cash’s “American V: A Hundred Highways” in the summer of 2006, when it started with 88,000. Only one other album has debuted at No. 1 with less than 100,000: the Notorious B.I.G.’s “#1’s” in November 2005 with 99,000.
However, this is easily Michele’s best sales week. Her previous best frame came when her debut album, “I Am,” started with 27,000 in July 2007. The set debuted and peaked at No. 29.
As for Ciara, “Fantasy Ride” is her third top three debut in as many tries. Her freshman 2004 effort, “Goodies,” entered the list at No. 3 with 125,000 while 2006’s “The Evolution” blasted onto the tally at No. 1 with 338,000. Despite the fair amount of heat generated by “Fantasy Ride’s” first single—”Love Sex Magic” (featuring Justin Timberlake)—the album clocks Ciara’s lowest first-week sum yet.
Elsewhere in the top 10 this week . . . Rascal Flatts’ “Unstoppable” moves up one notch to No. 4 with 58,000 (up 10%); last week’s No. 1, Bob Dylan’s “Together Through Life,” falls four slots to No. 5 with 51,000 (down 59%); Lady GaGa’s “The Fame” rises one spot to No. 6 with 41,000 (up 4%); Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” slides up two slots to No. 7 with almost 41,000 (up 42%); Rick Ross’ “Deeper Than Rap” falls from No. 4 to No. 8 with 35,000 (down 32%); Ben Harper and Relentless7’s “White Lies for Dark Times” debuts at No. 9 with 34,000; and the “Twilight” soundtrack slips from No. 6 to No. 10 with 32,000 (down 8%).
Many albums on the Billboard 200 made gains this week in the wake of the May 10 Mother’s Day holiday. That’s likely owed to discount pricing on sets that were mom-friendly, in addition to non-sale-priced purchases of sets that have female appeal. Thus, an album like Swift’s “Fearless” can generate a 42% increase in sales. Only 14 titles in the top 50 this week declined in sales.
|The Billboard 200
Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
|*1||New||CHRISETTE MICHELE Epiphany (Def Jam / IDJMG)||*11||New||THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA With Roots Above And Branches Below (Ferret )|
|2||2||SOUNDTRACK Hannah Montana: The Movie (Walt Disney )||12||7||VARIOUS ARTISTS NOW 30 (Universal / EMI / Sony Music / Zomba / UMe)|
|*3||New||CIARA Fantasy Ride (LaFace / JLG)||*13||11||NICKELBACK Dark Horse (Roadrunner )|
|*4||3||RASCAL FLATTS Unstoppable (Lyric Street )||14||13||JASON ALDEAN Wide Open (Broken Bow )|
|5||1||BOB DYLAN Together Through Life (Columbia / Sony Music)||15||10||VARIOUS ARTISTS Playing For Change: Songs Around The World (Hear / Concord)|
|6||5||LADY GAGA The Fame (Streamline / KonLive / Cherrytree / Interscope / IGA)||16||15||KINGS OF LEON Only By The Night (RCA / RMG)|
|*7||9||TAYLOR SWIFT Fearless (Big Machine )||*17||25||KELLY CLARKSON All I Ever Wanted (S / 19 / RCA / Sony Music)|
|8||4||RICK ROSS Deeper Than Rap (Maybach / Slip-N-Slide / Def Jam / IDJMG)||*18||20||BEYONCE I Am…Sasha Fierce (Music World / Columbia / Sony Music)|
|*9||New||BEN HARPER AND RELENTLESS7 White Lies For Dark Times (Virgin / Capitol)||*19||24||KEITH URBAN Defying Gravity (Capitol Nashville )|
|10||6||SOUNDTRACK Twilight (Summit / Chop Shop / Atlantic / AG)||20||16||KERI HILSON In A Perfect World… (Mosley / Zone 4 / Interscope / IGA)|
|* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week|
Album units, current chart week: 6.5 million units
UP 5.4% from last week’s charts: 6.2 million units
DOWN 19.8% from same week, 2008: 8.1 million units
This week: No album sells more than 100,000 copies.
This week last year on the Billboard 200: Neil Diamond scored his first No. 1 with “Home Before Dark,” shifting 146,000 in its first week. Six more albums started in the top 10, including Toby Keith’s “35 Biggest Hits” at No. 2 with 103,000.
The No. 10 album this week, the soundtrack to “Twilight” (Summit/Chop Shop/Atlantic), sold 32,000.
The No. 10 album for the same week of 2008, Luis Miguel’s “Complices” (Warner Latina), sold 32,000.
Average total of the No. 10 album for the same week of the year during the past 10 years (2000-2009): 62,764.
Sugarland surges to its fifth leader on the Hot Country Songs chart, as the lyrically playful “It Happens” hikes from No. 3 to No. 1. With the song following the chart-toppers “All I Want to Do” and “Already Gone,” the chart sports its first trio of consecutive leaders by a duo since Brooks & Dunn led successively with “Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You,” “Only in America” and “The Long Goodbye” in 2001-02.
Daughtry’s new single “No Surprise” enters at No. 39 on the Adult Top 40 chart after the group premiered the tune on the May 6 edition of “American Idol.” “Surprise” is the first offering from the act’s second album, “Leave This Town,” due July 14. The group’s self-titled debut set spawned five Adult Top 40 hits—all of which reached the top three. And three of them climbed to No. 1: “It’s Not Over,” “Home” and “Feels Like Tonight.”
Beyonce claims her 10th solo No. 1 on the Hot Dance Club Play chart as “Halo” rises to the top this week. Meanwhile, her Destiny’s Child pal Kelly Rowland climbs to No. 18 as the featured artist on David Guetta’s hit “When Love Takes Over.” The latter tune also moves up to No. 3 on the Dance Airplay chart in just its fourth week on the tally.
A LOOK AHEAD
Among the albums released this week, due on next week’s charts: Green Day’s “21st Century Breakdown,” Cam’Ron’s “Crime Pays,” Paul Wall’s “Fast Life,” Aiden’s “Knives” and Gucci Mane’s “Murder Was the Case.”
Next week’s Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2008 when: Death Cab for Cutie notched its first No. 1 album with “Narrow Stairs,” entering with 144,000. Frank Sinatra’s “Nothing But the Best” bowed at No. 2 with 99,000, while Jason Mraz’s “We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things.” started at No. 3 with 73,000 and Duffy’s “Rockferry” landed at No. 4 with 71,000.