Well, there's really no denying it now:
Her Circus album will debut at #1 on next week's Billboard albums chart, selling just under 505,100 copies. It's Spears' fifth album to debut at #1 on the chart, and it sold nearly twice as many copies as last year's Blackout album, which was denied the top spot on the chart by the Eagles' Long Road Out of Eden.
Circus' first-week sales total is certainly big, but it's only the sixth biggest opening of 2008, behind albums like Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III, AC/DC's Black Ice, Coldplay's Viva la Vida, Taylor Swift's Fearless and T.I.'s Paper Trail. Still, it outpaced the first-week numbers of some of Brit's pop peers, including Beyoncé's I Am ... Sasha Fierce, Mariah Carey's E = MC2 and Miley Cyrus' Breakout.
Interestingly enough, the Brit-sanity was so high among album buyers that Blackout also managed to return to the charts, selling more than 4,600 copies to land at #198.
Spears' manager, Larry Rudolph, told The Associated Press that the success of Circus really does signify Brit's triumphant return. "At the end of the day, I think she is America's pop princess, and the world's pop princess, and this just reconfirms it to everyone who doubted it," he said. "Professionally, she's feeling great. ... It's great for her to hear that she's got a #1 album again."
Those sentiments were seconded by in a statement from Jive Records, Britney's label. "We're absolutely thrilled for Britney," the statement reads. "The response to Circus is a testament to how great the album is, and to how connected and supportive Britney's fans are to her and her music."
The rest of the top 10 features the "Twilight" soundtrack at #6; the week's other big-name debut,
Aside from Circus and Freedom (which sold 110,600 copies), other notable debuts on next week's chart include