Say what you will about the sometimes morbid state of the modern music industry. But, for now, label bosses seem to have found at least one sure thing when it comes to ringing cash registers: Susan Boyle.
The "Britain's Got Talent" runner-up continues to dominate the Billboard 200 at gift-giving time as her second effort, The Gift will slide back up to the #1 position on the chart next week on sales of 272,000, pushing her one-month total over the 1.1 million mark, according to figures provided by Nielsen SoundScan.
That was more than enough to hold off the #2 album, Taylor Swift's Speak Now, which lost nearly 25 percent of its business from the previous week, but still managed to sell 182,000 copies, enough to cross the 2 million threshold in just six weeks.
The highest debut of the week was from Glee, The Music, Volume 4, which comes in at #5 (128,000), edging out the chart bow of the Black Eyed Peas' The Beginning, which has a soft landing at #6 on sales of 119,000. That's a bit of a comedown from the mega-selling The E.N.D. (Energy Never Dies), which debuted at #1 in June 2009 with sales of 304,000, their best week ever to date and their first #1 debut.
The rest of the top 10: Jackie Evancho's O Holy Night (#3, 145,000); Glee: The Christmas Album (#4, 129,000); Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, which falls six spots to #7 after sales trailed off by 78 percent to 108,000; Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday, which suffers a similar major drop from #2 to #8 as sales dried up by 73 percent (103,000); Josh Groban's Illuminations (#9, 78,000) and Rihanna's Loud (#10, 77,000).
Just outside the top 10, Justin Bieber's My Worlds Acoustic Walmart exclusive slides a few spots to #11 in week two (66,000), while Jazmine Sullivan pops up at #17 with her latest, Love Me Back (56,000). Fellow diva Chrisette Michele is a bit behind at #25 with Let Freedom Reign (42,000). Ne-Yo's Libra Scale shed 72 percent of its business in week two, tumbling 25 places to #34 (31,000) as Ke$ha's Cannibal hasn't fared much better, dropping 26 in its second week to #41 as sales shrunk by 65 percent to 26,000.
Christmas collections are beginning to march up the charts as shoppers seemed to be searching for the right stocking stuffers, sending holiday-themed efforts from tenor Andrea Bocceli, Groban, Lady Antebellum, Michael Bublé , Mannheim Steamroller, Swift, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Celtic Thunder and yes, Barbie, into the top 100.
Sales were up 56 percent for Mariah Carey, as her Merry Christmas II You climbs 16 slots to #12 (65,000), though the news was not as good for Jessica Simpson, whose Happy Christmas limped onto the charts at #123 last week and droops to #185 in the next cycle on anemic sales of just over 5,000.
It was also a soft start for Soulja Boy Tell'em, as his DeAndre Way comes in at #90 (13,000), just behind Slim Thug's Tha Thug Show (#89, 14,000).
While his status falls on the Billboard tally, Kanye is still #1 on the iTunes chart, where the BEPs are just behind at #2, followed by the "Glee" Christmas album and Vol. 4 collections, the "Burlesque" soundtrack and Nicki's Pink Friday. Rounding out the list are Rihanna, Florence and the Machine's Lungs, Swift and Bruno Mars' Doo-Wops & Hooligans.
Katy Perry is still running hard on the iTunes singles chart with "Fireworks," which beat out the BEP's "The Time (Dirty Bit)." Bruno Mars is in at #3 with "Grenade," then Pink's "Raise Your Glass," Rihanna and Drake's "What's My Name," Ke$ha's "We R Who We R," the "Glee" cast's cover of "Dog Days Are Over," Coldplay's "Christmas Lights," Trey Songz's "Bottoms Up" and another "Glee" song, Train's "Hey, Soul Sister."
The flood of holiday titles will start to trail off next week, with new efforts from an incarcerated T.I., Natasha Bedingfield, Duffy, Redman, Hinder and Daft Punk's "Tron" soundtrack.