Mary J. Blige, Alicia Keys End Josh Groban’s Reign Over Billboard Albums Chart

With Christmas behind us, Growing Pains and As I Am outsell Noël.

To be quite honest, it was becoming rather hard to come up with new ways to say the same thing: that Grammy-nominated baritone Josh Groban‘s latest album, Noël, was once again the nation’s top-selling record. Since late November, Groban’s LP had consistently outsold the rest of the herd, making his the first Christmas album ever to hold the chart’s #1 position for five straight weeks.

Luckily, we have Mary J. Blige. After failing to overpower Groban in last week’s sales race with her new Growing Pains set, the R&B songstress bounced back this week, taking advantage of the shrinking market demand for Christmas classics.

Despite a 68 percent decline in sales, Growing Pains will rise from #2 to #1 in next week’s Billboard top 200 album chart, with a reported 204,300 scans, according to the latest SoundScan totals. Groban’s Noël shifted 175,700 units and also suffered a steep drop in sales: 77 percent, to be exact. That lands Groban’s LP in the #3 spot on next week’s chart, right behind second-place finisher Alicia KeysAs I Am, which sold more than 193,200 copies.

“This album means a lot to me, because it shows my appreciation of my growth and the progress I’ve made,” Blige told MTV News recently about Growing Pains. “This is a next level for me, a new place, and it’s a celebration of my weaknesses and strengths.”

The week following Christmas was sluggish for the music industry, as total sales of the top 200 albums waned by nearly 6 million from the previous sales week. And, strangely, one of the only new albums debuting on next week’s chart wasn’t even officially in stores: Radiohead‘s In Rainbows opens prematurely, thanks to obvious street-date violations, at #156, with 8,500 sold.

In the chart’s top 10, there is little change from the previous week; it’s the same old song and dance, with a number of year-long favorites hanging tough. The 26th addition to the Now That’s What I Call Music! compilation series climbs two spots to #4 with 98,400 scans, while Chris Brown‘s Exclusive jumps from #10 to #5 with 86,700 copies sold.

The EaglesLong Road Out of Eden falls two positions to #6, selling another 85,300 units, while Garth BrooksUltimate Hits finishes at #7 with 76,800 sold. Taylor Swift‘s self-titled debut follows at #8, with sales of 76,700. Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus dips four spots to #9, generating another 73,300 scans. And rounding things out at #10, with 71,600 copies snatched up, is Colbie Caillat‘s Coco.