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.)