It's a bit early to call it a changing of the guard, but British songbird Adele will make a strong case that she is a major force to be reckoned with on the Billboard charts next week when her album 21 retakes the #1 spot.
Thanks to sales of 88,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan, Adele pulls the feat off — her fourth non-consecutive week at #1 since the album's release in late February — while forcing last week's #1, Britney Spears' Femme Fatale, down to #2.
Spears' highly anticipated new effort suffers a steep drop-off in its second chart cycle, plunging 73 percent on sales of 75,000, for a two-week total of 352,000. In contrast, Adele has pushed past the 1 million mark in seven weeks to notch the best-selling album of 2011 to date.
Also losing a significant amount (70 percent) of business in its second week is rapper Wiz Khalifa's Rolling Papers, which falls three spots to #5 on sales of 59,000. Masked rap-rock crew Hollywood Undead scored their best chart debut ever with American Tragedy, which comes in at #4 (66,000), while little-known metalers Asking Alexandria come in at #9 on sales of 31,000.
The rest of the top 10: Radiohead, King of Limbs (#3, 67,000); Chris Brown, F.A.M.E. (#6, 51,000); the iTunes Songs for Japan compilation (#7, 51,000); Mumford & Sons' Sigh No More (#8, 34,000); and Kirk Franklin's Hello Fear (#10, 31,000).
Jennifer Hudson's I Remember Me slips four spots to #11 as sales dip 46 percent to 31,000, while Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and former Band member Robbie Robertson scores a #13 debut (22,000) for How to Become Clairvoyant, his first studio album in 13 years. Rapper Jim Jones hits #20 with the debut of his latest, Capo (21,000), indie faves The Kills come in at #37 with Blood Pressures (13,000), and superstar DJ Tiësto is down at #52 with Club Life Volume One — Las Vegas (10,000).
On the iTunes album charts, it was all about the Songs for Japan album, which reigned supreme over Adele, who was followed by the Hollywood Undead, Spears, Mumford & Sons, Khalifa, Asking Alexandria, the TRON: Legacy Reconfigured special package, an "American Idol" digital album featuring the top nine, including shock castoff Pia Toscano, and the soundtrack Grey's Anatomy: The Music Event.
Katy Perry had the top of the iTunes singles chart on lock with her Kanye West collabo "E.T." beating out the Black Eyed Peas' "Just Can't Get Enough," Rihanna's "S&M," Britney's second single, "Till the World Ends," Blake Shelton's "Honey Bee" and Adele's smash "Rollin' in the Deep." The rest of the list included Jennifer Lopez's "On the Floor" at #7, Chris Brown just behind with "Look at Me Now" and Pitbull's "Give Me Everything" and Ke$ha's "Blow."
Look for some movement at the top next week thanks to the debuts of the Foo Fighters' Wasting Light, Jessie J's debut Who You Are, the "Lemonade Mouth" soundtrack and a new album from folk-rock legend Paul Simon.