Scottish singer Susan Boyle soared to the top of the U.S. album chart this week, entering at No. 1 with the grandest debut of the year.
The plain-looking, golden-voiced Boyle — who became an international sensation as a contestant on “Britain’s Got Talent” — ruled Black Friday retail traffic with her Syco/Sony Music album “I Dreamed a Dream.” Singer’s debut sold 701,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan figures for the week ended Nov. 29.
Boyle’s total is the biggest first-week tally of 2009, besting Eminem’s “The Relapse,” which entered at No. 1 in June with 608,000 copies sold, and the largest debut score by a female performer in the SoundScan era. Boyle’s album sold 410,000 in the U.K. in its first week, a record in Blighty.
Tenor Andrea Bocelli’s “My Christmas” (Decca) held at No. 2 for the third week running; the seasonal collection sold 218,000, a gain of 18%.
Another TV runner-up, Adam Lambert of “American Idol,” debuted at No. 3 with his 19/RCA release “For Your Entertainment,” which opened with 198,000 sold. Lambert trailed Kris Allen in the most recent “Idol” competition but has outdone him on the chart: Allen’s self-titled Jive release bowed last week at No. 11, selling a comparatively modest 80,000.
The flamboyant “Glambert” also benefited from his Nov. 23 performance on the American Music Awards, which featured bondage garb and a same-sex kiss that scandalized some viewers and led to cancellation of his appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Like Lambert, several of the other artists bowing in the top 10 were lofted by exposure on the AMAs, major launching pad for hot fourth-quarter releases.
Rihanna’s “Rated R” — the R&B singer’s first release since her vocalist ex-boyfriend Chris Brown’s Grammy-eve assault on her made tabloid headlines — debuted at No. 4. The Def Jam album shifted 181,000.
Lady Gaga, whose piano-igniting performance was an AMA highlight, grabbed back-to-back positions in the top 10 this week. Her mini-album “The Fame Monster” entered at No. 5 with a 174,000-unit first week, while her Interscope debut “Fame,” in a new expanded edition, gained a whopping 429%, selling 151,000 and settling in at No. 6.
In its 14th week on the charts, Miley Cyrus’ EP “The Time of Our Lives” (Hollywood) moved up 22 slots to No. 7 thanks to a 150,000-unit week. Set was lifted 385% by deep discounting at Walmart, the title’s exclusive merchant.
Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” (Big Machine) received its anticipated post-AMA bounce: The year-old album gained 48% and stepped up two positions to No. 8, scanning another 125,000 copies.
Ex-“Idol” Carrie Underwood’s “Play On” (19/Arista Nashville) sat tight at No. 9 with a 124,000-unit week (up 44%), while Norah Jones’ “The Fall” (Blue Note) echoed its title and sank to No. 10 from No. 3, shifting 110,000 and declining 39%.
In all, a dozen albums sold more than 100,000 copies in the Christmas shopping kickoff stanza.
R. Kelly’s new “Untitled” will lead new albums onto next week’s chart, which will also see the impact of last night’s Grammy nominations.