A week of controversy stemming from a paternity suit that seems increasingly bogus didn’t stop the passionate Beliebers from pushing Justin Bieber’s Christmas set, Under the Mistletoe, into the top spot on the Billboard 200.
The disc scanned a fa-la-la-la-lot of copies — 210,000 total — in its first week, helping Under the Mistletoe become Bieber’s third number one album after My World 2.0 and Never Say Never: The Remixes, which debuted with 283,000 and 165,000 copies sold, respectively. If the scant 37 percent second weekend drop for Michael Bublé’s holiday album Christmas (which sold 89,000 discs this week, good for 8th place and a 230,000 total) is any indication, Bieber’s collection should enjoy strong sales throughout the holiday season.
Rapper Wale debuted in second place with a strong 164,000 copies of Ambition — by far his biggest sales week. Wale’s last album, 2009’s Attention Deficit, started with just 28,000 copies. The hip hop artist has been building hype over the course of this year by appearing on rap compilation Self-Made Vol. 1 in May and releasing his mixtape The Eleven One Eleven Theory on Jay-Z’s website Life and Times in August.
In third place, country star Miranda Lambert also enjoyed her best sales week, as her fourth album, Four the Record, shot up a 133,000 debut, giving the brassy singer the number one country album in the U.S. going into tonight’s CMA festivities. Four’s tally is just over twice the 66,000 that Lambert’s last disc, Revolution, sold when it debuted in 2009. That set has gone on to sell over 1.4 million copies.
In fourth was another new debut (six of the top ten albums were new releases!), Susan Boyle’s Someone to Watch Over Me, which shifted 132,000 units. Although that number is far below the 701,000 debut of her 2009 album I Dreamed a Dream and the 318,000 debut of her 2010 followup The Gift, Boyle has proven that during the holiday season she has staying power, so I wouldn’t count out Someone just yet. If nothing else, Boyle did succeed in finally pushing fellow Brit Adele out of the top four for the first time in 21‘s incredible 37-week run. In fifth place, 21 moved another 108,000 copies.
And then we have two more British acts! Florence + The Machine notched a solid sixth-place start by selling 105,000 copies of sophomore effort Ceremonials. The songstress and her backing crew gradually built a listening audience with the 2009 breakout single “The Dog Days Are Over,” which played heavily throughout 2010, and it appears that people like what they heard on Florence’s debut disc Lungs, which peaked at number 14 following a buzzy performance on the 2010 MTV VMAs, and has sold 738,000 copies total.
Last week’s chart champion, Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto, finished close behind in seventh, dropping 76 percent to 104,000 (551,000 total).
Tyrese’s first album in five years, Invitation, began in ninth place with 76,000. Tee Transformers star’s last disc, 2006’s Alter Ego, peaked at number 23, but it sold a stronger 116,000 copies in its first week. Oh, how Billboard times have changed…
Check out the top ten below:
1. Justin Bieber, Under the Mistletoe – 210,000 copies
2. Wale, Ambition – 164,000
3. Miranda Lambert – Four the Record – 133,000
4. Susan Boyle – Someone to Watch Over Me – 132,000
5. Adele, 21 – 108,000
6. Florence + the Machine, Ceremonials – 105,000
7. Coldplay, Mylo Xyolto – 104,000
8. Michael Bublé, Christmas – 89,000
9. Tyrese, Invitation – 76,000
10. Kelly Clarkson, Stronger – 51,000
Grady on Twitter: @EWGradySmith