WINNER OF THE WEEK: No surprise here. The Jay-Z and Kanye West collaboration Watch the Throne hit Number One on the Billboard charts, selling 436,000 copies in its first week, second only to Lady Gaga's 1.1 million-selling Born This Way as the year's biggest debut. The album is dominant online as well, hitting Number One on iTunes. But it fell a tiny bit short of expectations, as retailers had predicted 500,000 in its first week. Also, staying power could be a problem: the first single, "Otis," dropped 17 slots, from Number 10 to Number 27, on BigChampagne's Ultimate Chart (which measures under-the-hood Internet stuff like Facebook likes and YouTube views). And the album had a corresponding drop on Billboard's Hot 100. Jeezy and Yeezy better drop a big new single quick, or this thing's going to be underwater soon.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Could this week finally be the end of Adele's 2011 world domination? After 25 straight weeks in the Top Three, her album 21 finally slipped to Number Four, selling a respectable 73,000 copies, although it's 4 percent lower than last week. Let's check the single numbers: the indomitable "Rolling In the Deep" also dropped three slots on the Ultimate Chart, from Number Eight to Number 11, although it still clings to the Top 10 on Billboard's Hot 100. It's possible that Adele, who was briefly off the road due to vocal problems, needs to crank up her tour-marketing apparatus again, as she plays shows in San Diego, Las Vegas and elsewhere. And it may finally be time to release a new single. Our vote is for her sublime version of the Cure's "Lovesong."
XTINA, ADAM AND NUDITY, TOO: Like many viewers of NBC's "The Voice," we were intrigued by the debut of Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger," in which singer Adam Levine managed to pay homage to the Rolling Stones frontman without making fun of him or cowering too much in his shadow. The synergy between Levine and fellow coach Christina Aguilera, who sings a key verse in the song, worked for us as well. But the real reason it surged from Number 37 to Number Two on the most recent Ultimate Chart (and hit Number One on iTunes this week) is most likely due to the YouTube video. It's one of the best clips of the year, with Levine's skinny-legs performance interspaced with classic Jagger bits, Aguilera vamps and mysterious glimpses of Woodstock-ish female nudity. BigChampagne's people are always saying "make a video!" This clip proves the point.