And the winner of the first season of The Voice is Blake Shelton. The veteran country singer, who boosted his profile with his role as a judge on the hit NBC series, lands his first #1 album on The Billboard 200 with Red River Blue. Shelton's last full-length album, Startin' Fires, peaked at #34 in late 2008.
The new album sold 116,000 copies this week, which is a personal best for Shelton. His 2003 album The Dreamer started with sales of 77K. The new album sold more than three times as many copies as Shelton's last release, the EP All About Tonight, sold in its first week in August (33K).
Two of Shelton's fellow judges on The Voice, Adam Levine and Christina Aguilera, have also felt the show's impact. Maroon 5's snazzy single "Moves Like Jagger" (which features Aguilera), entered the Hot 100 at #8 last month.
Shelton's marriage in May to Miranda Lambert has also boosted his profile. Incidentally, Shelton lands a #1 album before Lambert. Her highest-charting album, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, debuted and peaked at #6 in 2007.
Shelton is the first male country singer to reach #1 since Toby Keith scored in October with Bullets In The Gun. (Jason Aldean's durable My Kinda Party peaked at #2.) Red River Blue also enters Top Country Albums at #1. It's Shelton's second #1 on that chart, following All About Tonight.
Startin' Fires represented a sub-par showing for Shelton, who had made the top 10 with 2003's The Dreamer and 2007's Pure BS. Shelton's record company, Warner Bros. Nashville, was understandably concerned about the sales slippage and responded to it by releasing a pair of lower-cost, six-song EPs instead of coming back with another full-length album. Both EPs, Hillbilly Bone and All About Tonight, made the top 10, though clearly the best solution for an artist whose sales are starting to slip isn't simply to put out a more affordable product, but to boost his star power and visibility. And that's what The Voice has done for Shelton.
Shelton isn't the only artist in this week's top 10 who owes a debt to TV exposure. Chris Young, who debuts at #4, was the 2006 winner on USA Network's Nashville Star. Selena Gomez, whose latest album with the Scene drops to #10, became a star in 2007 on the Disney Channel's Wizards Of Waverly Place.
Incubus' seventh studio album, If Not Now, When?, debuts at #2. It's the band's fourth studio album in a row to debut in the top two. Morning View opened at #2 in October 2001. A Crow Left Of The Murder... opened at #2 in February 2004. Light Grenades bowed at #1 in December 2006.
Adele's 21 dips from #2 to #3 in its 21st week. It's the first album to spend its first 21 weeks inside the top three since Celine Dion's Let's Talk About Love, which spent its first 22 weeks inside the top three from December 1997 to May 1998. Adele is a cinch to tie Celine next week. In fact, she may return to #1.
21 returns to #1 in the U.K. This its 17th week in the lead, which ties the mark set in 1974 by Carpenters' The Singles 1969-1973 as the longest-running #1 album in the U.K. by a female artist or female lead singer. Karen Carpenter sang lead on all 12 of the chart-busting hits on The Singles. Adele and Carpenters have a lot in common. Both won the Grammy for Best New Artist. Karen and Adele were both 20 at the time of their first hits, "(They Long To Be) Close To You" and "Chasing Pavements," respectively.
Colbie Caillat's All of You debuts at #6. It's her third straight top 10 album, though it just misses becoming her third in a row to make the top five. A little more than half of the copies of the new album (35K) were sold digitally, which puts it at #1 on Hot Digital Albums. It's Caillat's third album to top that chart. Her first album, Coco, has sold 386,000 digital copies. Her second, Breakthrough, has sold 172,000.
Yours Truly by Sublime With Rome debuts at #9. This is Sublime's first top 10 album. It comes more than 15 years after the band's lead singer Brad Nowell died of a heroin overdose on the eve of the band's breakthrough. The band's album Sublime hit the chart three months after Nowell's death and remained on the chart for two years. (It climbed as high as #13.) The new album features new lead singer Rome Ramirez.
Demi Lovato's "Skyscraper," the first single from her upcoming third album, enters Hot Digital Songs at #2. If it enters the Hot 100 above #15, it will become her highest-charting solo hit to date on that chart. Will it do it? You'll find out when we post Chart Watch: Songs later today.
Shameless Plug: What do Fred Astaire, Barbra Streisand, Frank Sinatra, Burt Bacharach, Liza Minnelli, John Denver, Barry Manilow, Bette Midler, Cher and Tony Bennett have in common? They all won the Emmy for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special. Lady Gaga may well join this impressive roster when the 63rd annual Prime Time Emmys are presented on Sept. 18. Her HBO special Lady Gaga Presents The Monsters Ball Tour: At Madison Square Garden is a finalist this year. I wrote all about it in an And The Winner Is feature. If you missed it, here's a link.
Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums.
1. Blake Shelton, Red River Blue, 116,000. This new entry is Shelton's fifth top 10 album (counting two EPs). Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Honey Bee" dips from #14 to #15. "God Gave Me You" debuts at #41.
2. Incubus, If Not Now, When?, 80,000. This new entry is the band's fifth top 10 album; its fourth studio album in a row to reach the top two. The title song enters Hot Digital Songs at #188.
3. Adele, 21, 77,000. The former #1 album dips from #2 to #3 in its 21st week. This is its 21st straight week in the top three. Five songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Rolling In The Deep," which drops from #5 to #8.
4. Chris Young, Neon, 73,000. This new entry is the country singer's first top 10 album. His previous highest-charting album, The Man I Want To Be, reached #19 in 2009. "You" enters Hot Digital Songs at #142.
5. Beyonce, 4, 72,000. The former #1 album drops to #5 in its third week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Best Thing I Never Had" dips from #21 to #22. "Run The World (Girls)" drops from #59 to #82.
6. Colbie Caillat, All Of You, 66,000. This new entry is Caillat's third top 10 album in a row, following Coco (#5 in 2007) and Breakthrough (#1 in 2009). Four songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "What If," which debuts at #47.
7. Jason Aldean, My Kinda Party, 42,000. The album drops from #4 to #7 in its 37th week. This is its 15th week in the top 10. Three songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs, topped by "Dirt Road Anthem," which holds at #9.
8. Theory Of A Deadman, The Truth Is..., 38,000. This new entry is the Canadian band's first top 10 album. Its last album, Scars & Souvenirs, peaked at #26, but it remained on the chart for more than two years. It has sold 973K copies. "Lowlife" enters Hot Digital Songs at #187.
10. Selena Gomez & the Scene, When The Sun Goes Down, 33,000. The album drops from #3 to #10 in its third week. Two songs from the album are listed on Hot Digital Songs. "Love You Like A Love Song" holds at #16. "Who Says" drops from #27 to #37.
Six albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Bad Meets Evil's Hell: The Sequel drops from #5 to #11, Jackie Evancho's Dream With Me drops from #6 to #12, Jill Scott's The Light Of The Sun drops from #7 to #14, Lady Gaga's Born This Way drops from #8 to #13, Big Sean's Finally Famous: The Album dives from #9 to #18 and Lloyd's King Of Hearts plummets from #10 to #49.
Shake It Up: Break It Down, the soundtrack to the Disney Channel series Shake It Up, debuts at #22. It's the week's top soundtrack. The first singles released from the album are Selena Gomez's "Shake It Up" and "Watch Me" by series stars Bella Thorne and Zendaya.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 debuts at #25. It's the week's top soundtrack to a theatrically-released movie. This is the highest-charting soundtrack in the entire series, surpassing Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince, which reached #29 in 2009. The movie, the last in the series, was #1 at the box-office over the weekend.
Adele's 2008 album 19 drops from #22 to #32. It's #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the 19thtime in the past 22 weeks. The album sold 12,000 copies this week, a little more than twice as many as the week's #2 catalog album: Martina McBride's Revolution. (Adele has a third album in this week's top 100. The digital-only iTunes Festival: London 2011 debuts at #62.)
Yes' Fly From Here debuts at #36. The band first charted 40 years ago (yikes!) with The Yes Album. Its highest-charting album, Close To The Edge, reached #3 in December 1972.
True or False: Two albums on this week's chart have sold a combined total of more than 21 million copies. True! The albums are Bob Marley & the Wailers' Legend (10,569,000) and Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP (10,465,000). Legend is #117 this week. Marshall Mathers is #157.
Train and Martina McBride collaborated on an episode of CMT's genre-bridging Crossroads series. The video debuts at #1 on this week's Top Music Videos chart. It's the second episode of this series to yield a #1 video. The video from the first, featuring Taylor Swift and Def Leppard, debuted at #1 in June 2009.
Coming Attractions: Kidz Bop Kids' Kidz Bop 20 is in a tight race with Adele for the #1 spot next week. Three other albums are headed for top 10 debuts: 3 Doors Down's Time Of My Life, 311's Universal Pulse and DJ Khaled's We The Best Forever. Also due: Cold's Superfiction, Kottonmouth Kings' Sunrise Sessions and Imelda May's Mayhem.