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Taylor Swift reclaims chart summit

'Red' holds off new releases from Wiz Khalifa, Ke$ha

After a three-week sojourn at No. 2, Taylor Swift’s “Red” bounced back up to the top of the U.S. album chart last week.

The country-pop star’s album retook No. 1 with a 167,000-unit week, according to Nielsen SoundScan data for the week ending Dec. 9. The collection’s 22% surge was strong enough to return the album to the apex, where it spent three weeks after its 1.21 million-unit debut in late October.

Swift’s show of renewed sales strength was potent enough to stave off a strong entry by Wiz Khalifa’s new album “O.N.I.F.C.” (Atlantic), which moved in at No. 2 with 141,000 sold. The album matched the chart position of the rapper’s last release, 2011’s “Rolling Papers,” but its tally was shy of that set’s 197,000-copy debut, which was pushed by his mega-hit “Black and Yellow.”

Ke$ha’s “Warrior” (Kemosabe/RCA) arrived at No. 6 with an 85,000-unit frame. The party-rocking singer’s debut “Animal” vaulted to No. 1 in 2010 with sales of 152,000 in 2010, lofted by its smash single “Tik Tok.”

The week’s other top 10 debut, Florida Georgia Line’s “Here’s to the Good Times” (Republic Nashville), bowed at No. 10 with a 63,000-unit score. Country duo of Tyler Hubbard (from Monroe, Ga.) and Brian Kelley (from Ormond Beach, Fla.) is enjoying a current hit with “Cruise.”

Christmas albums continued to show strength. Rod Stewart’s “Merry Christmas Baby” (Verve) maintained a torrid December pace, holding No. 3 with a 127,000-unit stanza (up 9%). Michael Buble’s 2011 hit “Christmas” (Warner Bros.) continued to see a second season of sales, taking No. 5 and toting up 106,000 copies (up 5%); it has tallied 2.7 million over two years. And Blake Shelton’s “Cheers, It’s Christmas” (Warner Bros.) decked the halls at No. 8 with sales of 68,000 (up 29%)

The week’s top 10 holdovers included One Direction’s “Take Me Home” (No. 4, 107,000 sold, up 16%), Alicia Keys’ No. 1 debut of last week “Girl On Fire” (No. 7, 77,000, off 52%) and Phillip Phillips’ “The World From the Side of the Moon” (No. 9, 65,000, down 12%).

The new Bruno Mars album and the a third “Glee” Christmas set are next week’s top candidates for major debuts.

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