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‘Noel’ big with holiday shoppers

Groban's latest remains on top of charts

Josh Groban’s “Noel” continues to deck the halls of holiday shoppers, posting an 8% sales increase to 581,000 as it remained atop the charts for a third straight week.

Holiday disc is the first to top the charts for three weeks since Kenny G’s “Miracles: The Holiday Album” did it in 1994. With 7.2 million sold, “Miracles,” which opened with sales of 819,000, is the all-time sales leader among holiday albums released since SoundScan started in 1991. “Noel” has now sold 2.1 million copies.

According to Billboard’s record books, “Elvis Christmas Album” spent four weeks at No. 1 after its release in 1957. “Noel,” released by Warner Music Group’s 143/Reprise, is poised to tie that record next week. Fifty years ago, Variety also tracked album sales, and the Presley disc never got above No. 7; cast and soundtrack albums for “My Fair Lady,” “Around the World” and “Pal Joey” were the December chart-toppers.

This week’s top 10 saw only one debut: Blake Lewis’ “Audio Day Dream” (19/Arista), which sold 98,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan. As “American Idol” runners-up go, it puts him behind three and ahead of two in terms of sales and chart position.

“AI” champ Jordin Sparks’ self-titled debut, meanwhile, dropped six slots to No. 24 on sales of 52,000. After three weeks in release, it has sold 222,000. Due to the writers strike, the “AI” champ and runner-up have had limited television opportunities; Lewis will appear on MTV’s “TRL” on Dec. 19.

Other debuts this week included Scarface’s “Made” (Rap a Lot), which sold 63,000 to hit No. 17; Trace Adkins’ “American Man: Greatest Hits Volume II” (Capitol), 53,000 (No. 22); Drama’s “Gangsta Grillz: The Album” (Grand Hustle/Atlantic), 49,000 (No. 26); Wyclef Jean’s “Carnival Vol. II: Memories of an Immigrant” (Columbia), 46,000 (No. 28); the compilation “Good Times, Bad Times … Ten Years of Godsmack” (Universal), 40,000 (No. 35); and Ghostface Killah’s “The Big Doe Rehab” (Def Jam), 36,000 (No. 41).

Grammy nominations caused a few blips, as Fergie’s “Dutchess,” the self-titled “Daughtry,” Paramore’s “Riot!” Carrie Underwood’s “Some Hearts,” Foo Fighters’ “Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace,” Maroon 5’s “It Won’t Be Soon Before Long” and Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” saw sales spikes.

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