Kelly Clarkson’s All I Ever Wanted Claims Billboard Top Spot

Songwriter/producer The-Dream edges out U2 for #2.

Despite a strong debut last week, [artist id="1022"]U2[/artist] have been replaced at the top of the Billboard albums chart by a resurgent [artist id="1231768"]Kelly Clarkson[/artist], whose All I Ever Wanted will take the pole position in its debut week on sales of 254,000.

That’s just a shade behind what Clarkson’s last album, the troubled My December, did in its first week (291,000) in June 2007, but with a hit single in “My Life Would Suck Without You,” Clarkson seems poised for a solid comeback. Also debuting on the charts is the second album from in-demand songwriter/producer [artist id="2801312"]The-Dream[/artist], Love Vs. Money, which hit the #2 spot and racked up 151,000 in sales, besting U2′s No Line on the Horizon. For the beleaguered music industry, the upside was that the totals for the top three represent the first time in 2009 that a trio of discs in the top 10 has passed the 100K-plus mark.

Had J. Holiday‘s Round 2 debuted with slightly better numbers at #4, it might have been a four-way, but alas the singer could only muster 55,000 units, barely edging out this year’s chart queen, [artist id="2389485"]Taylor Swift[/artist], whose Fearless fell several spots to #5 on sales of 51,000, edging her ever closer to the 3 million mark. The only other debut in the top 10 was the controversial collabo between former Soundgarden/ Audioslave frontman Chris Cornell and producer Timbaland, Scream, which snagged the #10 spot with sales of 25,000.

Elsewhere in the top 10, dance diva [artist id="3061469"]Lady Gaga[/artist] hung tight, slipping a few notches to #6 with The Fame, racking up 46,000 new fans, while the rest of the top 10 was unchanged, with [artist id="760446"]Nickelback[/artist] at #7 (36,000), followed by [artist id="1236911"]Beyoncé‘s[/artist] I Am … Sasha Fierce (28,000) at #8 and [artist id="7590"]Jamie Foxx‘s[/artist] Intuition at #9 (26,000).

Just outside the top 10, pop-punk stalwarts New Found Glory‘s first album for Epitaph, the Mark Hoppus-produced Not Without a Fight, lands at #12 (23,000), followed by the #15 debut of Punk Goes Pop Volume 2 (20,000), which features Bayside covering Sean Kingston‘s “Beautiful Girls,” August Burns Red ripping through Britney‘s “… Baby One More Time” and the Cab doing Rihanna‘s “Disturbia.”

Alt darling Neko Case drops to #17 after a surprising #3 debut for her critically acclaimed Middle Cyclone album (20,000), the Yeah Yeah Yeahs blast onto the charts for a #32 debut for It’s Blitz! (13,000) and the Jonas Brothers3D Concert Experience continues its freefall, dropping another 15-plus spots in its third week to #37, with just 12,000 units shifted.

Gone are the days of #1 debuts for former “American Idol” champ Taylor Hicks, whose independently released The Distance limped in at #58 on sales of 8,000, nearly 290,000 less copies than his self-titled major-label debut managed in 2006.

And, after a #3 debut in November and steadily declining sales ever since, [artist id="846"]Guns N’ Roses[/artist]‘ highly touted comeback, Chinese Democracy, will fall out of the top 200 next week, likely done in by a combination of no radio hits, music videos, announced tour dates or public appearances or interviews by frontman Axl Rose.

Look for the charts to remain fairly static next week, as the only major new releases include a deluxe edition of the “Twilight” soundtrack and Gorilla Zoe‘s Don’t Feed Da Animals.

Often guilty, never convicted. Serving 15 years to life at MTV News.