WINNER OF THE WEEK: Katy Perry. Pundits have been suggesting for months that Perry is a breezy, overnight pop sensation known only for throwaway anthems such as “Teenage Dream” and “I Kissed a Girl.” Yet her “E.T.” (with help from Kanye West) has been Number One on Billboard’s Hot 100 for two weeks in a row, has sold more than 300,000 copies overall and is in a tight battle with Adele’s “Rolling In the Deep” for the top slot both on that chart and BigChampagne’s Ultimate Chart, which measures traditional sales in addition to YouTube views, Facebook likes, iTunes downloads and other Internet criteria. Lady Gaga gets credibility as a “career artist,” whose songs and persona transcend pop flavors of the month. Perry doesn’t. Yet her new tour, properly priced at $45 per ticket and at venues that aren’t too big for her, is selling out all over the place. Maybe she’ll, like, last.
LOSER OF THE WEEK: Glee. Did we ignore the Glee: The Warblers album’s strong debut last week just to rip on it this week for dropping down the charts? (It went from Number Two to Number Seven, or down 68 percent, selling just 28,000 copies.) Yes! Does that make us terrible people? Probably. But like Dave Grohl and the Kings of Leon, we’re not especially invested in the Glee phenomenon. Without Jane Lynch, the show is nothing; the a cappella repackaging of new and old pop hits is hitting warmed-over-novelty stage; and “Warblers” includes versions of Rod Stewart’s “Da Ya Think I’m Sexy,” Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister,” Paul McCartney’s “Silly Love Songs,” just to give you an idea of how annoying this album is. On a related note: Anybody ever hear of the Flirtations?
NOBODY BEATS THE WIZ: It’s too early to call breakthrough Pittsburgh rapper Wiz Khalifa a winner or a loser, even though his pretty-good album Rolling Papers dropped 30 percent in sales this week, from Number 12 to Number Nine on the Billboard album charts. But we’re dubious about the plans for his summer tour, announced today: He’s playing big theatres, small arenas and cut-off amphitheatres, such as the 5,000-capacity Ava Amphitheatre in Tucson, Arizona. No question Khalifa is a rising talent, but in an era when hip-hop doesn’t sell particularly well on the road, and even established pop stars are scaling down and “under-playing” in smaller venues than usual, it’s hard to imagine The Wiz selling out in Arizona. Especially when, as we’re seeing this week, Rolling Papers doesn’t seem to have the kind of longevity on the pop charts to sustain ticket sales.
LAST WEEK: Adele Continues to Dominate