Well, there’s really no denying it now: [artist id=”501686″]Britney Spears[/artist] really is back! Back to selling tons of records, at least.
Her Circus album will debut at #1 on next week’s Billboard albums chart, selling just under 505,100 copies. It’s Spears’ fifth album to debut at #1 on the chart, and it sold nearly twice as many copies as last year’s Blackout album , which was denied the top spot on the chart by the Eagles’ Long Road Out of Eden.
Circus’ first-week sales total is certainly big, but it’s only the sixth biggest opening of 2008, behind albums like Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III, AC/DC’s Black Ice, Coldplay’s Viva la Vida, Taylor Swift’s Fearless and T.I.’s Paper Trail. Still, it outpaced the first-week numbers of some of Brit’s pop peers, including Beyoncé’s I Am … Sasha Fierce, Mariah Carey’s E = MC2 and Miley Cyrus’ Breakout.
Interestingly enough, the Brit-sanity was so high among album buyers that Blackout also managed to return to the charts, selling more than 4,600 copies to land at #198.
Spears’ manager, Larry Rudolph, told The Associated Press that the success of Circus really does signify Brit’s triumphant return. “At the end of the day, I think she is America’s pop princess, and the world’s pop princess, and this just reconfirms it to everyone who doubted it,” he said. “Professionally, she’s feeling great. … It’s great for her to hear that she’s got a #1 album again.”
Those sentiments were seconded by in a statement from Jive Records, Britney’s label. “We’re absolutely thrilled for Britney,” the statement reads. “The response to Circus is a testament to how great the album is, and to how connected and supportive Britney’s fans are to her and her music.”
[artist id=”2389485″]Swift[/artist]’s Fearless lands in the #2 spot on the albums chart for the second-straight week, selling 193,500 copies. Beyoncé’s Sasha Fierce is at #3, with sales of more than 152,800 copies. Last week’s chart champ, [artist id=”1230523″]Kanye West[/artist]’s 808s & Heartbreak, drops to #4, with sales of close to 141,700 copies. [artist id=”760446″]Nickelback[/artist]’s Dark Horse rounds out the top five, selling 133,400 copies.
The rest of the top 10 features the “Twilight” soundtrack at #6; the week’s other big-name debut, [artist id=”1240040″]Akon[/artist]’s Freedom at #7; the soundtrack to “High School Musical 3″ at #8; the ubiquitous hits collection Now That’s What I Call Music! 29 at #9; and David Cook’s self-titled effort at #10.
Aside from Circus and Freedom (which sold 110,600 copies), other notable debuts on next week’s chart include [artist id=”15723″]Scarface[/artist]’s Emeritus (#24, with 42,000 copies sold), Neil Young’s Sugar Mountain: Live at Canterbury House 1968 (#40, with 26,400 copies sold) and the soundtrack to [artist id=”1236911″]Beyoncé[/artist]’s new movie, “Cadillac Records” (#66, with 15,600 copies sold).