The album's robust sales are proof positive of Oprah's influence — and, of course, the season, as sales of Christmas releases increased across the board. Still, it's nonetheless impressive that in the nine weeks since its release, the LP has held the #1 spot the last three. Next week's chart shows that the album's week-three triumph was hardly threatened; the record sold another 581,500 copies, and the closest competitor, Alicia Keys' As I Am, finished at #2, selling 234,400 units.
But perhaps the bigger story is how "American Idol" season-six runner-up Blake Lewis' debut, Audio Day Dream, fared on the top 200 (see " 'American Idol' Runner-Up Blake Lewis Creates Own Genre On A.D.D. Debut"). Entering the chart at #10 with just 97,500 copies scanned, Lewis' disc was the sole chart newcomer to bow in the top 10, but the album generated fewer sales than "Idol" victor Jordin Sparks' self-titled debut did. Sparks' album turned out the lowest first-week numbers for any debut from one of the show's champs, and this week, it sits at #24 with sales reported at 52,500, just three weeks after first landing in stores. It, too, entered at #10 the week after its release, with little more than 119,100 sold (see "Jordin Sparks' Debut Has Weakest-Ever Opening For An 'American Idol' Champ: What Went Wrong?").
The remainder of the top 10 is filled out with some of the biggest-selling albums of the year, enjoying a holiday sales boost. Behind Keys at #3 is the Eagles' Long Road Out of Eden with 204,500 scans, and coming in at #4 with 158,400 sold is the 26th addition to the Now That's What I Call Music! compilation series. The soundtrack to "Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus" climbs two spots to #5, selling 132,200, while the soundtrack to "High School Musical 2" follows at #6 with 128,000 sold.
Carrie Underwood's Carnival Ride rises two positions to #7, having sold 106,800 copies. Garth Brooks' Ultimate Hits follows at #8 with 105,000 scans, and coming in at #9 with 98,800 copies scanned is country crossover Taylor Swift's self-titled debut.
Generally speaking, album sales were up last week, thanks to the holiday shopping season, and the announcement last week of this year's Grammy contenders. For example, sales of Kanye West's Graduation, which garnered the most nominations, were up 7 percent to close at 25,100; the album surged ahead 10 spots to #58. Meanwhile, sales of Amy Winehouse's Back to Black, which was nominated for six awards, rose 48 percent to end at 17,600-plus, according to the latest SoundScan totals.
One of the week's biggest gainers was Mexican band K-Paz de la Sierra's Capaz de Todo por Ti, which experienced a sales increase of 309 percent, following the death of lead singer Sergio Gomez 10 days ago. (He was kidnapped and later found dead, one of three popular traditional Mexican musicians to be murdered last week.) The album, which wasn't on the chart last week, appeared at #93, selling 15,300 copies — up from 3,700 the previous week.
Just 13 new releases managed to find their way onto next week's top 200, including Lewis' inaugural studio offering. Rapper Scarface's M.A.D.E. enters the chart at #17 with 62,900 scans, while DJ Drama's first aboveground mixtape, Gangsta Grillz: The Album, which features tracks by T.I., Young Jeezy, Lil Jon, Lil Wayne, Yung Joc, Jadakiss, Jim Jones and others, comes in at #26 with 48,800 sold.
Carnival, Vol. 2: Memoirs of an Immigrant, the latest from ex-Fugee Wyclef Jean, opens at #28, having sold 46,400 copies its first week in stores. That's the lowest chart position and weakest sales of any of 'Clef's previous outings. Back in 1997, The Carnival debuted at #16 with 52,000 sold, while 2000's The Ecleftic: 2 Sides II a Book opened at #9 with 95,400 scans; 2002's Masquerade entered the chart at #6 with 81,500, and 2003's The Preacher's Son bowed at #22 with 49,300 sold.
Godsmack's career-spanning Good Times, Bad Times: 10 Years of Godsmack collection sold 40,500 copies to enter the chart at #35, while Wu-Tang Clan associate Ghostface Killah's The Big Doe Rehab follows at #41 with 35,600 sold. Styles P's new one, Super Gangster (Extraordinary Gentleman), comes in at #52 with sales of 28,500.
Late rapper 2Pac has not one, but two posthumous releases making their debuts on next week's chart. The Best of 2Pac, Pt. 1: Thug sits in the #65 spot with 22,500 sold, while The Best of 2Pac, Pt. 2: Life follows at #77 with 18,900 copies snatched up. Meanwhile, Too Short's Get Off the Stage enters at #160 with sales reported at 8,000, and Rufus Wainwright's Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall comes in at #171 with 7,400 sold. Lastly, debuting at #196 with 6,300 sold, it's Crunk Hits: Volume 4, a compilation featuring the likes of T.I., Shop Boyz, Fat Joe, Chris Brown, Chamillionaire and Jim Jones.