It's the most wonderful time of the year ... especially for the music industry. Album sales surged thanks to all you holiday shoppers, and you put Taylor Swift back on top of next week's Billboard albums chart. Swift barely edges out Susan Boyle in a week that saw plenty of big numbers put up across the board.
Swift's Speak Now sold more than 259,000 copies (up 30 percent from last week) to claim the #1 spot, according to figures provided by Neilsen SoundScan. Meanwhile, Boyle's The Gift sold more than 254,000, ending her run atop the chart. The week's highest debut belongs to the late Michael Jackson, whose posthumous Michael album sold nearly 228,000 copies to open at #3. A pair of holiday-themed releases — Jackie Evancho's O Holy Night and the "Glee" cast's Christmas album — round out the Top 5, selling nearly 191,000 and 158,000 copies, respectively.
Up next at #6, it's R. Kelly's Love Letter, which debuts with sales of nearly 154,000 copies, and, at #7, it's Diddy-Dirty Money, whose long-delayed Last Train to Paris opens to the tune of nearly 101,000 copies sold. The rest of the Top 10 is filled out by Nicki Minaj's Pink Friday (#8, more than 97,000 copies sold), Kid Rock's Born Free (#9, nearly 94,000) and the "Glee" cast's The Music, Volume 4 (nearly 87,000).
Outside the Top 10, there are debuts from "American Idol" runner-up Crystal Bowersox, whose Farmer's Daughter sold nearly 58,000 copies — 20,000 more than "Idol" champ Lee DeWyze sold in his first week — to open at #28. Smoove R&B crooner Tank's Now or Never bows at #35 (more than 43,000 sold), and Ciara's Basic Instinct, has a meek debut at #44, with sales of nearly 37,000 copies.
Nearly every album in the Billboard top 50 posted a sales increase from the previous week's numbers, including Katy Perry's Teenage Dream (#15), which saw a 26 percent increase in sales, Justin Bieber's My World 2.0 (#18, with a 36 percent bump in sales) and Eminem's Recovery (#22, with a 39 percent jump). And that trend looks to continue on next week's Billboard chart, too, since there are still two shopping days left before Christmas.