When it comes to predicting which artist will end up topping Billboard's albums sales chart, some weeks are easier than others.
Many were counting on urban crooner Lloyd to mop the floor with the competition last week, and thought him a lock for a #1 debut. But Philadelphia-born R&B artist Musiq Soulchild came out of nowhere with his latest, Luvanmusiq, and just narrowly edged Lloyd out of contention, by a margin of fewer than 5,000 scans.
Luvanmusiq — which sold 149,000 copies — becomes Musiq Soulchild's second studio effort to open in Billboard's #1 spot; his 2002 LP Juslisen was the first, selling more than 260,000 units.
Lloyd's Street Love finished a close second, selling 144,000, according to the latest SoundScan figures. At #3 is another new release, rapper Rich Boy's self-titled LP, which generated close to 112,000 scans its first week in stores.
In all, there were six newcomers to the latest top 10, including Neil Young's Live at Massey Hall 1971 at #6 with 57,000 sold, and British songstress Amy Winehouse's Back to Black at #7, selling 51,000 copies. Bowing at #8 is 8Ball & MJG's Ridin' High, which netted 50,000 scans.
Meanwhile, six other new releases made the top 200, including James Morrison's Undiscovered, which opens at #24, with close to 24,000 sold. Type O Negative's Dead Again follows at #27, with sales topping 22,000.
The Fratellis' Costello Music debuts at #48 with 15,000 sales, while Aqualung's Memory Man takes the #88 slot with 9,000 scans. Stax 50th Anniversary Celebration, a double-disc, 50-track celebration of the birth of Stax Records — featuring tracks by the Mar-Keys, Booker T. & the MGs, and Otis Redding — enters the chart at #120, selling 7,000 copies.
Daughtry, the debut disc from "American Idol" finalist Chris Daughtry's rock band, leads the pack of chart veterans, dropping one spot to #4 with nearly 80,000 copies sold. Akon's Konvicted, which racked up 71,000-plus scans, follows at #5. Fall Out Boy's Infinity on High finishes out the week at #9, selling 43,000 units, and Carrie Underwood's Some Hearts returns to the top 10 at #10, with 42,000 copies sold.
Last week's #1, Notorious B.I.G.'s Greatest Hits, suffered the typical second-week slump, with sales skidding 61 percent, dropping the disc to #15 on the chart with close to 39,000 copies sold. Similarly, the Arcade Fire's Neon Bible, which debuted at #2 on the previous week's chart, slips to #18 thanks to a 60 percent sales dip; the disc sold fewer than 37,000 units its second week in stores.