Clearly, the holiday season is upon us. How do we know? Crooner Michael Buble's five-week-old Christmas album will sneak into the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 albums chart thanks to sales of 227,000, leapfrogging over a pair of new releases. Just a hair back at #2 is Nickelback's Here and Now, which moved just under 227,000 copies and Rihanna's Talk That Talk, which hit #3 after selling 198,000, according to figures provided by Nielsen SoundScan.
Also debuting in the top 10 were Mary J. Blige's : My Life II ... The Journey Continues (#5, 156,000) and Daughtry's Break the Spell (#8, 129,000). The rest of the top 10: Drake, Take Care (#4, 173,000, down 73 percent), Justin Bieber, Under the Mistletoe (#6, 142,000), Adele, 21 (#7, 140,000), Scotty McCreery, Clear as Day (#9, 88,000) and Coldplay, Mylo Xyloto (#10, 79,000).
Just outside the top 10, Taylor Swift came in at #11 with Speak Now World Tour Live (77,000), just ahead of new boy band TV hotties Big Time Rush, whose Elevate was at #12 thanks to sales of 70,000. The soundtrack to the new Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil show, Immortal, landed at #24 (43,000), while new Shady crew member Yelawolf was back at #27 with Radioactive (41,000). "American Idol" finalist rocker James Durbin squeaked into the top 40 at #36 with his debut, Memories of a Beautiful Disaster (28,000).
A number of top 40 acts seemed to be getting a holiday boost, including Maroon 5 (up 44 spots and 351 percent to #20), Lady Gaga (up 51 spots and 416 percent to #21), Selena Gomez & The Scene (up 39 spots and 248 percent to #31) and Nicki Minaj (up 47 spots and 250 percent to #50).
While Gaga's Born This Way continues to move units, fans were a bit less interested in her A Very Gaga Holiday digital EP, which landed with a thunk at #51 on modest sales of 22,000.
While she didn't reach the top on Billboard, Rihanna did manage to hit #1 on the iTunes album charts, where she beat out Drake, Nickelback, Coldplay and Buble. At #6 was Adele, followed by Daughtry, Blige, Gaga's Thanksgiving album and a greatest hits disc from Motor City rocker Bob Seger.
LMFAO ruled the iTunes singles chart with "Sexy and I Know It," which beat out "It Will Rain" from Bruno Mars, Rihanna's "We Found Love," Flo Rida's "Good Feeling" and Katy Perry's "The One That Got Away." Rounding out the list were: Adele, "Someone Like You," Maroon 5, "Moves Like Jagger," Gym Class Heroes, "Stereo Hearts," David Guetta, "Without You" and LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem."
Next week's newcomers include Hot Chelle Rae Trey Songz, and live CD/DVDs from Adele and Beyonce.