WINNER OF THE WEEK: Lana Del Rey. The last time a Saturday Night Live musical trainwreck dominated media attention this much, it was Ashlee Simpson and her unfortunate response to her own lip-syncing. Simpson's music career has essentially vanished since then. When torchy pop singer Del Rey's bizarrely under-confident January 15th performance went viral, it generated more of a voyeuristic fascination than a blanket dismissal – as well as spirited defenses by both SNL's own "Weekend Update" crew and rocker Liz Phair. You can't buy publicity like this, and even though Del Rey's debut Born to Die is a little too sleepy for our tastes, it's good enough to justify a post-(weird)-hype purchase, and lands at Number Two on the Billboard albums chart, selling 77,000 copies. What might lead to longevity: a big, new single, as well as a tour that proves once and for all that she's not afraid of the stage. Oh, whoops.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Madonna. We've spent the past three days defending her Super Bowl performance vigorously from Facebook haters – who cares about some lip-syncing when she had cheerleaders, gladiators, marching bands, tightrope-walkers, LMFAO (hey, they're the biggest hitmakers in the world!), M.I.A. and her middle finger, Nicki Minaj and world peace? – but it wasn't enough to give Madge much chart traction. So far. This week's Billboard charts end at February 5th, the night of the big game, so Madonna merely racked up 16,000 sales for her greatest-hits album Celebration (Number 24 on the album charts, despite selling for $6.99 last week on iTunes and $3.99 for a day at Amazon's MP3 Store). Her new single "Give Me All Your Luvin'," with M.I.A. and Minaj, sold 115,000 digital copies (Number Seven). iTunes had an extra day of reporting, but "Luvin'" landed anemically at Number Six while Celebration (discount and all) hit Number Four.
EVERYBODY KNOWS THEY CAN JUST BUY HIS CD ON AMAZON: Leonard Cohen's not-bad Old Ideas hits Number Three (after, of course, Adele at Number One, and Del Rey at Number Two) on the old-school album chart with 41,000 sales. What's interesting is that, according to Billboard, 35 percent of the sales are from "physical albums sold via Internet retailers" and 30 percent via online album downloads. Meanwhile, Del Rey had just 1 percent of sales as Internet-shipped CDs and 74 percent downloads. What can we conclude from this? Del Rey's fans are young and couldn't care less about maintaining a stack of CDs in the hi-fi room, while Cohen's fans have been trained for decades to buy a thing when it comes out, and Amazon is a lot easier to hit than making a trip to Walmart, Best Buy or the one indie record store that happens to still be open in their given city.
LAST WEEK: Kelly Clarkson Starts the Slow Burn