Adele is making this look way too easy. In a week when there were no less than six new faces in the Billboard 200 top 10, the 21 singer still managed to climb back into the #1 slot after weeks of hanging around in the #2 and #3 positions.
In her remarkable 68th week in the top 10, the singer sold 75,000 copies of 21, according to figures provided by Nielsen SoundScan, giving her a total north of 9.3 million to date. While the majority of titles in the top 20 had sales losses or negligible gains, Adele's sales were up 30 percent thanks to her prime-time special on NBC.
With the exception of one week at #7, and five weeks in the 4-5 zone, Adele has spent more than 60 weeks in the top 3 and her latest triumph ties her with the "Saturday Night Fever" and "Purple Rain" soundtracks for 24 non-consecutive weeks at #1. Her next goal is catching up to Fleetwood Mac's Rumors, Harry Belafonte's Calypso and the "South Pacific" soundtrack, which all spent 31 non-consecutive weeks at #1.
Her triumph came in a squeaker over country singer Alan Jackson, whose Thirty Miles West debuted at #2 on sales of 73,000, which aced out the comeback album from the Beach Boys, That's Why God Made the Radio, which landed at #3 (61,000). Another rock veteran, Neil Young, landed at #4 with Americana, an album of fuzzed-out covers of old-timey songs performed with his longtime cohorts in Crazy Horse that sold 44,000 copies.
Rapper Big K.R.I.T.'s long-awaited major-label debut, Live From the Underground, opened at #5 (41,000), while fellow MC Curren$y hit #8 with Stoned Immaculate (36,000) and singer Brandi Carlile just snuck into the top 10 with Bear Creek (#10, 27,000).
The rest of the top 10: One Direction, Up All Night (#6, 40,000), last week's #1, John Mayer's Born And Raised (down 41 percent to #7, 39,000) and Carrie Underwood's Blown Away (#9, 27,000).
Longtime Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh was back in the game with the solo album Analog Man (23,000), the "Rock of Ages" soundtrack slipped in at #15 (18,000) and the second volume of songs from the TV show "Victorious" debuted at #18 (17,000).
Further down the line, rockers Japandroids made it to the #37 spot thanks to more than 9,000 in sales for Celebration Rock.
Over on the iTunes chart, Justin Bieber protégé Carly Rae Jepsen topped the singles tally with her ubiquitous hit "Call Me Maybe", followed by Maroon 5's "Payphone," Gotye's "Somebody That I Used to Know," Katy Perry's "Wide Awake" and Justin Bieber's "All Around the World." Pitbull was at #6 with his "Men In Black III" theme song, "Back in Time," just ahead of Rihanna's "Where Have You Been," One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful," Nicki Minaj's "Starships" and Bieber's "Boyfriend."
Mayer managed to hold the top slot on the iTunes album chart, besting K.R.I.T., Adele, One Direction and Fun.'s Some Nights. Carlile was in at #6, followed by Curren$y, country singer and "One Tree Hill" star Jana Kramer's self-titled debut, Jackson and the first effort from folk rocker trio the Lumineers.
Adele's trip to the pole position might be short-lived, as this week's releases include the latest from Usher , Waka Flocka Flame, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals and country singer Josh Turner.