In a stunning turnabout, [artist id=”860639″]50 Cent[/artist] will notch the lowest chart debut of his career next week when his long-delayed Before I Self Destruct lands at #5 on comparatively soft sales of 160,000. After his first two albums hit #1, selling 872,000 (Get Rich or Die Tryin’) and 1.15 million (The Massacre), and 2007’s Curtis sold 691,000 following an infamous chart battle with Kanye West , this fifth-place finish is a major comedown.
Who bested the once-dominant G-Unit General? According to figures provided by Nielsen SoundScan, Twitter-lover [artist id=”1220799″]John Mayer’s[/artist] Battle Studies took the top spot with sales of 286,000, followed by My Christmas by tenor Andrea Bocelli (185,000), the debut of [artist id=”1227303″]Norah Jones’[/artist] rock-tinged Fall (180,000) and Christian rock group Casting Crowns’ Until the Whole World Hears (167,000).
The only other debut in the top 10 is from currently hobbled Canadian cutie Justin Bieber, whose My World comes in at #6 (137,000). The rest of the top 10 are: Michael Jackson’s This Is It (#7, 96,000), the “New Moon” soundtrack (#8, 93,000 on a 77 percent uptick in business thanks to the opening of the movie), Carrie Underwood’s Play On (86,000) and Taylor Swift’s Fearless (84,000).
Just barely aced out of next week’s top 10 is “American Idol” winner Kris Allen, whose self-titled debut lands softly at #11, giving him the dubious distinction of having the lowest-charting first week for an “Idol” winner in the show’s history. Allen is also likely to get pushed down further next week when headline-grabbing runner-up Adam Lambert’s debut, For Your Entertainment, makes its chart bow.
Further down the line, rock supergroup Them Crooked Vultures fly into the #12 spot with their self-titled debut (70,000). Leona Lewis’ second album, Echo, is right behind at #13 (67,000). People also appeared to sleep on OneRepublic’s sophomore effort, Waking Up (#19, 39,000), and Janet Jackson’s greatest-hits collection Number Ones is far from it at #20 (37,000). Way down at #68, Fall Out Boy also had few takers for their greatest-hits album, Believer’s Never Die, which sold less than 11,000 copies.
It was a very short stay at the top for Jersey rockers Bon Jovi, whose The Circle shed 69 percent of its first week business to drop from #1 to #18 on sales of 50,000, which is just a bit steeper than the dive taken by Flyleaf, whose Memento Mori drops 28 spots to #36 in week two (20,000). Proving that couch-humping and girl-kissing will only get you so far, the self-titled latest from Pretty Ricky barely made a dent, debuting at #85 on sales just shy of 9,000. Meanwhile, Katy Perry’s Katy Perry: MTV Unplugged whispers in at #134 (5,000).
Then again, most of that won’t matter next week when the top 10 is sure to get a Black Friday-assisted makeover thanks to chart debuts by half a dozen biggies, including Lady Gaga, Shakira, Rihanna, Susan Boyle and Lambert. The competition for the top spots will also heat up thanks to a recent Billboard top 200 rule change that will now allow albums that have been out for more than 18 months and don’t have a current single at radio to vie for a spot on the chart, spurred by strong sales this year from back-catalog albums from the Beatles and Michael Jackson.