Three months into its epic chart run, Eminem's Recovery continues to provide stiff competition to chart newcomers. In one of the most modest #1 debut showings of the year, "Love Song" singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles will top the Billboard 200 next week with Kaleidoscope Heart, which moved 90,000 copies to snatch the pole position, according to figures provided by Nielsen SoundScan.
That easily bested the #45 debut of her first album, 2007's Little Voice, and it was just enough to keep Slim Shady at bay. The resurgent rapper moved up a notch to #2 as Recovery sold another 81,000 copies to push it over the 2.5 million mark. If sales continue at this pace, Em could soon surpass the year's top-selling album to date, Lady Antebellum's Need You Now, which has racked up 2.6 million in sales over the past eight months.
Also debuting in the top 10 next week are the latest from Slipknot side group Stone Sour with Audio Secrecy (#6, 46,000); indie band Interpol, whose self-titled fourth album moved 38,000 copies (#7); and Florida rockers Anberlin, who hit #9 with Dark Is the Way, Light Is a Place (31,000).
The rest of the top 10: Now 35 (#3, 63,000); Katy Perry, Teenage Dream (#4, 59,000); Disturbed, Asylum (#5, 57,000, down 68 percent from last week's #1 debut); Justin Bieber, My World 2.0 (#8, 35,000); and the Camp Rock 2: The Final Jam soundtrack (#10, 31,000).
Fantasia's comeback, Back to Me, continued its slide down the charts. It shed six more spots in week three to land at #11 on sales of 29,000, during a slow week when most of the top 20 saw double-digit sales drop-offs.
Further down the line, rock icon Jerry Lee Lewis hits #30 with Mean Old Man (11,000), Minneapolis rap crew Atmosphere land at #38 with the EP compilation To All My Friends, Blood Makes the Blade Holy (9,000), and Swedish dance machine Robyn comes in at #41 with Body Talk Pt. 2 (8,000).
It was virtually the same story on the iTunes albums chart, as Bareilles took the top spot, followed by Eminem, Disturbed, Perry, Mumford & Sons' Sigh No More, Atmosphere, Interpol, Stone Sour, Anberlin and "Camp Rock."
The iTunes singles chart was also mostly unchanged, with Bruno Mars taking the top spot with "Just the Way You Are," followed by Perry's "Teenage Dream," Nelly's "Just a Dream," Taio Cruz's "Dynamite," Em's "Lose Yourself," Enrique Iglesias' "I Like It" and Usher's "DJ Got Us Fallin' in Love." iTunes doesn't provide sales figures, but you can be sure Flo Rida was glad to see that his new single, "Club Can't Handle Me," came in at #8, followed by Ke$ha's "Take It Off" and B.o.B's "Magic."
Bareilles will probably have a short time in the sun, as next week brings the chart debut of Linkin Park's A Thousand Suns, Trey Songz's Passion, Pain & Pleasure, Killers singer Brandon Flowers' debut solo album, Flamingo, and Weezer's indie debut, Hurley, as well as new albums from Led Zeppelin legend Robert Plant and insurgent country star Jamey Johnson.