The Big News: Despite the fact that it’s holiday shopping season, only five releases managed to sell over 100,000 copies. The one-two punch of Jesus and Oprah helped propel Josh Groban’s Noel to number one for the second consecutive week with 538,737 copies, pushing the album over the platinum mark in its eighth week of release. The Eagles’ Long Road Out of Eden had a mini-resurgence, selling seventy percent more copies than the prior week (thanks to their clever placement beside loooong Wal-Mart lines), leapfrogging from five to two and selling 312,875 copies. Alicia Keys’ As I Am continued to perform well, staying strong at number three with 257,442 copies. Hits compilation Now! 26 and Garth Brooks’ Ultimate Hits rounded out a top five in a week where the highest charting debut was Pitbull’s The Boatlift at fifty.
Debuts: Besides Pitbull, there was only one significant debut on the Billboard Top 200 — Mudvayne’s By the People for the People placed just behind Pitbull at fifty-one, selling 21,741 copies. If you want to get technical, the “debut” of the re-release of Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveSounds helped the album jump from seventy-five to twenty-six thanks to whatever extras they put on there.
Last Week’s Heroes: As we predicted, the top ten barely changed, with Chris Brown’s Exclusive and Jordin Sparks’ self-titled debut getting the boot, and Hannah Montana 2 and Manheim Steamroller filling the void. Sparks’ journey from American Idol to Billboard bomb is astounding, as she fell from ten in her debut week to eighteen. It’ll be interesting to see how her Idol runner-up, Blake Lewis’ Audio Day Dream, performs as his album hit shelves yesterday. Other notables on sale this week that might, just maybe, come for the Groban throne: Wyclef Jean’s Carnival II, T-Pain’s No Love Without Pain, greatest hits albums from Godsmack and the Libertines and, in a perfect chart-topping world, Ghostface Killah’s The Big Doe Rehab.