It's going to come down to the wire for the top spot on the charts next week as Prince and Keith Urban are locked in a close race for Number One. According to Reuters, "industry prognosticators" anticipate Urban's Defying Gravity will edge out Prince's triple attack of LOtUSFLOW3R, MPLSoUND and Bria Valente's Elixer. Both albums are expected to sell in the neighborhood of 150,000 copies, though Urban might top out at 160,000.
LOtUSFLOW3R would be Prince's fifth U.S. chart-topping album, following Purple Rain, Around the World in a Day, the Batman soundtrack and, most recently, 2006's 3121. Even if it doesn't claim the top spot, the LOtUS package will undoubtedly sell more than the 96,000 copies Prince's previous album Planet Earth mustered in 2007. Urban has never claimed a Number One spot, settling for Number Three on both of his previous albums.
If Prince does win the sales race, the victory will likely come with some kind of industry asterisk: The LOtUSFLOW3R package was released on Sunday, March 29th, giving Prince an additional two days of sales and a nine-day debut week. However, Keith Urban isn't leashed to an exclusive deal with Target like Prince is, making Defying Gravity more widely available. Plus, the amount of copies purchased via membership to Prince's newly launched LOtUSFLOW3R Website likely won't be included in his final tally. One thing is for certain, and that's that Now! 30 probably won't be topping the charts again.
For more on the LOtUSFLOW3R package, check out this week's New Music Report for Rolling Stone's take on the Purple One's three-disc set.