Months of rumors that label boss Clive Davis was so dissatisfied with My December that he didn't want to release it couldn't prevent America's first "Idol," Kelly Clarkson, from selling more than 291,000 copies of her latest LP. But did the flurry of negative press play a role in where Clarkson's third studio effort debuts on next week's Billboard albums sales chart?
Well, that's hard to say with any certainty. Clarkson's December faced fierce competition in Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus, a two-disc set from Cyrus, the actress/singer — and daughter of country singer Billy Ray Cyrus — who portrays Miley Stewart, an average teenager who leads a double life as a famous pop singer, on the Disney Channel series "Hannah Montana."
The first "Hannah Montana" soundtrack, which hit stores in October, also debuted at #1, selling 281,000-plus copies, to become the eighth-best-selling album of 2006, with nearly 2 million copies sold (see " 'Hannah Montana' Holds Billboard #1; K-Fed's Tough Week Continues"). Given that victory and Clarkson's sales record, the #1 position could have gone to either artist. But in the end, it was Cyrus who generated 33,000 more scans, claiming a second-straight chart-topping debut for the "Hannah Montana" franchise.
According to the latest SoundScan figures, Miley's double-disc release sold close to 325,600 units, leaving Kelly in the proverbial dust. Clarkson's first-week sales top that of her previous effort, 2005's Breakaway — which opened at #3 with 250,400 scans — but fell short of her inaugural offering, 2003's Thankful, which debuted at #1 with 297,400 sold.
In all, 24 newcomers make their first appearance on next week's Billboard top 200, including Ryan Adams' latest, Easy Tiger, which claims the chart's #7 spot with 61,000 sales. The Mix-Up, the latest, all-instrumental release from the Beastie Boys, follows at #15, selling 43,900 copies. With that ranking, the group's streak of #1 debuts comes to an end: 1994's Ill Communication opened at #1 with 220,000 in sales; 1998's Hello Nasty took the top spot with 681,600 scans; and three years ago, the band's To the 5 Boroughs also took the #1 position, selling 360,300 copies.
Live at the Gorge 05/06, a live box set from Pearl Jam, surfaces at #36, selling 19,150 units its first week on store shelves. Meanwhile, The Essential Paul Simon, a two-disc set featuring highlights from the singer's career, checks in at #42 with 16,900 scans. Finishing at #44 is late Hawaiian musician Israel "Bruddah IZ" Kamakawiwo'ole's Wonderful World, which sold 16,800 copies. Pharoahe Monch's Desire follows at #58, having generated 12,200 scans during its first week at retail.
The Greatest Hits set from Social Distortion claims the #86 spot, with 8,500 copies sold, while S.O.S.: Save Our Soul, the latest release from Marc Broussard, takes the #96 slot, selling 7,800 units. Bad Brains' Build a Nation debuts at #100, with sales reported at 7,600.
Coming in at #112 with 7,000 sold is Three From the Vault, a live album the Grateful Dead recorded back in 1971 at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York. Bryan Ferry's Dylanesque follows at #117, with 6,600 sold.
Symphony X's latest, Paradise Lost, moved more than 6,300 units to open at #123, followed at #136 by the Click Five's Modern Minds and Pastimes, which sold 5,800 copies. 3 Inches of Blood's new disc, Fire Up the Blades, finished at #147 with 5,300 scans, while Sinéad O'Connor's Theology bows at #168 with sales of 4,700. King Diamond's Give Me Your Soul Please debuts at #174 after selling 4,500 units.