Patience has paid off for Nicki Minaj. The first lady of Young Money just missed out on a #1 debut for her Pink Friday album back in November, settling for #2 behind Kanye West, and she's consistently hung around in the top 10 ever since. Well, next week she'll finally get her reward when her major-label debut climbs into the pole position on the Billboard 200 thanks to sales of 45,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. She'll have something else to celebrate as well, as the 18-percent uptick in sales has pushed the disc over the 1 million mark.
The good news for Nicki means that Christian rockers Red will just miss out on their first #1 debut, landing instead at #2 with their third effort, Until We Have Faces (43,000 copies). Debuting at #3 is the latest offering from Ricky Martin, Musica + Alma + Sexo, which sold 32,000 copies and was the only other new entry at the top of the charts.
The rest of the top 10 is as follows: Bruno Mars, Doo-Wops & Hooligans (#4, 32,000); Rihanna, Loud (#5, 29,000); Kidz Bop 19 (#6, 28,000); Jason Aldean, My Kinda Party (#7, 27,000); Taylor Swift, Speak Now (#8, 27,000); Pink, Greatest Hits ... So Far! (#9, 25,000); and Eminem, Recovery (#10, 25,000).
Farther down the chart, buzz duo the Civil Wars came in at a strong #12 for their debut, Barton Hollow (25,000). The only other notable newcomer in the top 20 was an archival concert disc from reggae great Bob Marley, Live Forever, which moved 23,000 copies to debut at #14.
After topping the charts last week, singer Amos Lee saw a big comedown, as his Mission Bell dropped to #26 after its sales fell 62 percent to 15,000. That slide was surpassed only by Iron & Wine's Kiss Each Other Clean, which shed 67 percent of its first-week business to plummet from #2 to #35 (13,000).
The Civil Wars crashed the boards much harder on the iTunes album chart, coming in at #1, followed by Red, Mumford & Sons' Sigh No More, the Black Keys' Brothers, Minaj, Rihanna, Lee, Pink, the Decemberists' The King Is Dead and Mars.
It's been a while since we saw Dr. Dre on any chart, but the rap master's collabo with protégé Eminem, "I Need a Doctor," took the top slot on the iTunes singles tally, beating out Pink's "F****** Perfect." That track was followed by Wiz Khalifa's Super Bowl runner-up anthem "Black and Yellow" (#3), Chris Brown's "Look at Me Now" (featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes) (#4), Bruno Mars' "Grenade" (#5) and Enrique Iglesias' "Tonight" (#6). Rounding out the survey's top 10 was Katy Perry's "Firework," Pitbull's "Hey Baby," Far East Movement's "Rocketeer" and Diddy-Dirty Money's "Coming Home."
With the Now 37 compilation as the only major release next week, look for some of the biggest winners at Sunday night's Grammys to make significant leaps on the next chart go-round.