WINNER OF THE WEEK: John Mayer. Despite a serious throat condition that prevented him from doing many shows or interviews, the singer-guitarist parked Born and Raised at Number One on Billboard's album chart, selling 219,000 copies. Mayer knocked down Adam Lambert's Trespassing, which sold just 22,000 copies – a plunge of 71 percent – and drops from Number One to Number 12. Due to Mayer's unfortunate lack of promotional abilities, our guess is that Born and Raised will drop in the coming weeks. He has no single on the charts, he can't tour and his few interviews so far (NPR's All Things Considered, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon) are unlikely to spread any further. But Mayer is hard to dismiss. His last few albums, particularly 2003's Heavier Things, slow-burned into massive sales.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Stars: they keep dying. Whitney Houston, Levon Helm, Adam "MCA" Yauch, Donna Summer, Robin Gibb, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Doc Watson – it's really getting sad out there. But the ghoulish reality of the record business is that all this death is good for sales. Last week, after disco pioneer Summer died, sales jumped 3,277 percent, and her excellent compilation On the Radio: Greatest Hits Volumes I & II sold 6,000 copies and returned to the charts at Number 73. This week, after Robin Gibb died, the Bee Gees surged in the U.K. Their 2004 compilation Number Ones launched from Number 34 to Number Five, beating its previous high of Number Seven.
NICKI STICKS: Nicki Minaj's album Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded may not be an Adele-style sales juggernaut, but it seems to have matched Rihanna's ability to spew out smash singles without a break. Featuring go-to guest star Chris Brown, Minaj's new single "Right By My Side" came out on May 16th and has since racked up 18.4 million YouTube views and leaped a ridiculous 136 spots on the Ultimate Chart, landing at Number 19. All this while her "Starships" single remains at Number Four on iTunes.