Two TV talent show grads, 49-year-old Susan Boyle and 10-year-old Jackie Evancho, take the top two slots on the U.S. album chart this week, as eight new albums roar into the top 10.
Nine of the top 10 sets – many of them by artists who customarily debut at No. 1 — arrive with robust six-figure scores.
Boyle’s seasonal set “The Gift,” the sequel to 2009’s smash debut “I Dreamed a Dream,” hangs on to its No. 1 post with a 335,000-unit week, according to Nielsen SoundScan figures for the week ending Nov. 21. The Columbia set gained 5%.
Big-voiced moppet Evancho, who wowed viewers of “America’s Got Talent,” moves in at No. 2 with her own holiday EP “O Holy Night” The four-song CD/DVD package, which tallied 239,000 copies in its debut stanza, gives Columbia Records the top two positions on the chart.
Rihanna’s “Loud” (Def Jam) bows at No. 3 with a 207,000-unit frame. R&B luminary’s latest arrives just a year after her hit “Rated R”; that album peaked at No. 4.
Josh Groban’s “Illuminations” (Warner Bros.) debuts at No. 4 with a glowing 191,000 units. Operatically-oriented singer’s own seasonal collection “Noel,” which has sold 5.05 million since its 2007 release, has returned to the chart; it moves up to No. 32 this week with 27,000 sold.
Detroit rocker Kid Rock’s “Born Free” (Atlantic) powers in at No. 5, selling 189,000. His most recent album, “Rock N Roll Jesus,” reached No. 1 in 2007.
Country vocal group Rascal Flatts’ “Nothing Like This” debuts at No. 6, toting up 165,000 units. It’s the hit-making trio’s first release on Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine label, home of Taylor Swift; act ankled Disney’s now-shuttered Lyric Street imprint, their former home, earlier this year.
Aussie country star Keith Urban’s “Get Closer” (Capitol Nashville) settles in at No. 7 with 162,000 shifted. His last album, 2009’s “Defying Gravity,” bowed at No. 1. Like Swift’s current “Speak Now,” Urban’s latest benefited from two editions: a no-frills package and an expanded edition sold exclusively at Target.
McKinley High’s finest return to the top 10 this week, as “Glee: The Music – The Christmas Album” (Columbia) decks the halls with 161,000 units moved. Another compilation of “Glee” tunes is scheduled for release next Tuesday.
Amid all the hubbub, Swift’s “Speak Now” (Big Machine) drops seven poles to No. 9. Country-pop star’s third studio set has sold 1.72 million in just four weeks.
Nelly’s “5.0” (Universal Motown) rounds out the big arrivals, coming aboard at No. 10 with 64,000 sold. Set is the hip-hop performer’s lowest chart debut to date; none of his four of his previous sets has arrived outside the top three.
Traffic will be heavy in the top 10 next week, as new releases by Kanye West (already seen as a slam-dunk No. 1 debut by most observers), Nicki Minaj, Ne-Yo and Ke$ha will enliven the post-Black Friday chart.