John Mayer tops album chart; Norah Jones and Justin Bieber, not too shabby

John Mayer’s Battle Studies is the Genghis Khan of the chart wars this week, with 286,000 copies sold—making it his first no. 1 Billboard spot since 2003’s Heavier Things. (Despite the fact that 2007’s Continuum beat it numbers-wise at 300K, it bowed at no. 2—damn you, Justin Timberlake!).

Andrea Bocelli’s deck-the-halls-with-opera opus My Christmas hung tight at no. 2, while Norah Jones’ The Fall snagged the third spot with 180,000 copies (her previous effort, 2007’s Not Too Late, moved 405,000).

Surprisingly, 50 Cent’s Before I Self Destruct landed fifth behind Christian soft-rockers Casting Crowns’ fifth release, Until the Whole World Hears, selling only 160,000. For Fitty, that’s a nearly half-a-million-unit fall from the 691,000-copy debut of 2007’s Curtis.

And—squeeeee!—15-year-old mall-pop pin-up Justin Bieber moved a respectable 137,000 copies of his debut EP My World; not bad for a kid who can’t even get licensed to drive yet. Two film soundtracks, Michael Jackson’s This Is It and one for a little indie flick called New Moon, held strong at 96,000 and 93,000 respectively. But pity the American Idol champ Kris Allen, whose 80,000-units no. 11 finish, while not tragic, easily falls in the lowest first-week sales for the show’s top finishers.

Who did Allen beat? Rock supergroup Them Crooked Vultures, who tabbed a healthy 70,000—besting U.K. diva Leona Lewis, no less, who may not be so “Happy” with her no. 13 bow. A true legend, Beatle Paul McCartney, snagged the no. 16 spot with his Live in New York City release.

Tune in next week, music fans, when the battle gets pitched for real: The face-off between Rihanna, Adam Lambert, Lady Gaga, Shakira and stealth chart-bomber Susan Boyle (she’s projected to hit up to a whopping 600,000 unit sales) is but a week—and eighteen tons of turkey leftovers—away.

(Follow the Music Mix on Twitter: @EWMusicMix.)

Comments (38 total) Add your comment
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  • Nick T

    I’ve already purchased Gaga’s CD. Yay Gaga. It’s awesome.

    • doug

      i second that.

      • hanna

        Third! I think it’s gonna be between her and SuBo. But thats just based off of iTunes sales. GaGa’s Fame Monster is number one on the album charts and Bad Romance is still the #1 single.

  • brandy

    that’s too bad about kris–but looking at the other releases he had to compete with, it’s not surprising. let’s hope his album has a bit of a slow build like jordin sparks had once her singles caught on.

    • TellyB

      A slow build like Jordin Sparks? Jordin’s two albums have flopped. Which is surprising because her debut garnered three top 20 hits (including the top ten Tattoo and the humongous top five Chris Brown-duet No Air)… Her sophomore disc unleashed a top ten hit (Battlefield) and still managed to sell crap.
      But as far as Allen, DUH. He was dull, devoid of personality and mediocre. With that being said, Lambert will make better debut week numbers, but still flop in the long run.

      • dave

        TellyB, where do you get your information from? Brandy is right, Jordin’s debut album did indeed have a slow build and it was certainly not considered a flop. It’s certified platinum (that means over 1 million copies sold in case you don’t know). That’s pretty darn successful. Her latest album isn’t faring as well so far, but sales could still pick up if she releases more singles that catch on.

  • graeme

    I’m shocked that Mayer was able to almost equal “Continuum” sales considering how much album sales have slowed down in the past couple years.

    That’s too bad about Kris Allen’s album. Hopefully it’s a slow-seller. He should release “Alright With Me” as his next single.

  • TorontoTom

    WHO, WHO, WHO is still feeding into the Susan Boyle Media Hype Machine?!?!? Is the album just 8 versions of I Dreamed A Dream(The Only Song I Know)? Get over her. She’s a novelty.

    • Officer Farva

      Pay no attention to Toronto Tom, he’s from Toronto.

    • Phil

      Toronto Tom, hate to be the one to say this, but Susan is on point to be the top seller of the year, depending on how well big box retailers like Best Buy and Target can keep her disc in stock as the Black Friday sales continue.She also has the advanatge of the largest PRE-order in Amazon global history and QVC sales.
      I’m not going to pick on Kris Allen, from my comments last week to Slezak, everyone thinks I hate the dude, but seriously, his lack of sales, shows just how much of that vote was fixed back in May with the Arkansas voting parties sponsored by the telephone company. Y’all can argue with me all you want, but IF that many people voted for him, then I can’t see how he debuted outside the top 10, regardless of all the other big releases this week, unless it was the same people voting well past multiple times with that mass texting vote fix, cause they sure as hell didn’t vote with their wallets this week. And is he now officially the lowest Idol winner debut, ever?! Like I pointed out last week, his single, NOT A HIT, so its no surprise the cd didn’t debut top 10. Leona’s song “Happy” hasn’t quite caught on either, which is why she debuted at #13, but in her case,I think once her theme to AVATAR is released next month, it’ll help her album sales…I have no idea what could help Kris’ album sales though, perhaps he has to wait for Idol to pimp out a performance by him in February.

      • Phil

        top selling debut of the year, not top seller, my bad!

      • Michael

        I agree. I liked Kris, but I can’t begin to fathom how he sold less than 100,000 CDs after winning the competition so handily. Something fishy, I’d say. I’m curious to see how many Adam will sell.

      • joe

        ummm… lol, sounds like you are picking on him a little, though, phil. lol….

      • Phil

        joe, I’m a MUSIC fan, not an Idol Music fan. I am not just a fan, I am a fan that understands the industry. Besides now being the lwest selling Idol winner in history, Kris is also one of the 1st Idols to not have their winning song reach the upper echelon of the Billboard Hot 100. Yes, “No Boundaries” was crap, but that shoulda told the record company right there, that his next single, to sell the album should be a sure fire hit. So what did his label do?! They made Kris record a b-side to a hit British band (The Script), that is also signed to their record label (thereby meaning they didn’t have to pay for a new single to be written, they already had!) and put it out as his first single. The song NEVER went into iTunes top 10 sales chart, which shoulda been another indication that the album had a horrible set up, regardless of him being crowned the Idol winner & just simply expecting people to buy off of that. So no, I’m actually NOT picking on Kris, I’m picking on his record label, Jive/19.
        Its amazing how arguments tend to evaporate when you actually have all the facts…

      • Sean

        Phil, nobody cares what you think. You’re just some anonymous guy on a blog like millions of others.

      • Truth

        A book is being written about the American Idol Season 8 voting scandal. Let’s wait for it to be published before we say anything further.

    • BLM

      Agreed. Susan Boyle is famous for being frumpy. She an average singer, at best. I don’t know who would want to spend money and time on a CD of covers by an over-rated church lady.

      • Michael

        Who cares? Do you think that Britney, Gwen Stefani, Justin Timberlake or Kanye West are anything more than average talents? They aren’t and have sold millions of records. Consumers of pop music do not, in any way, value talent. There are thousands of singers who could blow any of those artists away but will never have the chance to do so. At least Susan has a good backstory.

        I’m not going to buy the cd but let’s not pretend that Susan is being evaluated by atypical standards. She’s no more or less talented than 99 percent of all mainstream artists.

      • spin

        To michael other then britney, yeah, all the others you mentioned are alot better then average artists. And Adam Lambert is on track to sell around 230,000 depending on black friday. That could push the number higher.

    • dee

      The people who like her have money (they’re older) like her music especially around the holidays, and don’t know how to illegally download.

      • OMG

        I think the illegal downloading thing is part of it – her audience is clueless about that and they will actually pay for her “music”. Personally I think she is just gross, but wahtever. Does Billboard even take iTunes into consideration??

  • kct

    Slow and steady- just like he was on Idol. I love Kris’ album. I agree that he needs to release his next single SOON! Alright with me or Can’t stay away.

    • MD

      kct- I agree – slow and steady!
      Did anyone(idol-loonie Michael?!?)see Kris’ interview on MTV a couple of weeks ago? I just found it on-line so cute! In it he said he was surprised that JIVE wanted to release his CD the same day as John Mayer.
      I haven’t stopped listening to the CD since I’ve got it!
      Now I need to get the CD with the song Kris wrote w/Chris Daughtry

      happy turkey day all!
      be nice to each other =)

  • dee

    What about One Republic?

    • Leah Greenblatt

      Hey Dee~
      OneRepublic debuted just outside the top 20 at no. 21, with 39,000 units.

  • wakeforce

    Susan’s big debut should NOT be surprising to those who remember that when Mariah, Madonna and Streisand’s album came out the same day it was Barbra who found herself at #1.

  • mishka

    Kudos to John Womanmayer, he’s utterly talented although he should stop chasing punan*s.

    • mishka

      I gotta add about Kris Allen, it’s hard for a young male artist to achieve mainstream without charisma, self confidence and personnality. Adam Lambert got the memo (and some extra lines obviously). Own your good looks, Kris, work that moneymakers.

      • RyRyNYC

        you post made no sense… his album flopped bc he didn’t release a good single to lead off with.

  • Jen

    Fitty needs to hang it up and keep selling that water.

  • HM

    John Mayer’s “Battle Studies” is an awesome cd. This #1 spot is well deserved.

  • Anonymous

    Sad that NO ONE BUYS ALBUMS ANYMORE. instead they steal (download). that’s why not alot of these artists are so successful. You’re lucky to even hit 100k these days. Shame…

  • Adwina Lambert

    Poor Leona…not!! You are not the next Mariah Carey as my fairy nemesis Simon Cowell would like to proclaim to the whole world!! Retire and vanish from the music world Leona Loser-wis!! Tee-hee!

    • DD

      Now come on that’s not nice!!!!! What did Leona do you?

  • estelle

    I resent that comment about Leona Lewis. She’s a great artist with a beautiful voice, a little shy perhaps, but a sweet girl. There really is no need to be so negative and wish ill of someone. That is just not right.

  • Jon

    John Mayer is the King! This man is so talented and so funny too. I need to go get his CD for real!

    *****Listen to John Mayer ft Taylor Swift ‘Half of My Heart’ off his latest album on defSpot com’

  • Ana

    Go John Mayer! Happy for Norah J too.
    Leona I always wish you success.

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