Chart Watch (NEW)

Week Ending Nov. 18, 2012. Albums: Xtina Slips Despite “The Voice”

Chart Watch

Christina Aguilera's Lotus enters The Billboard 200 at #7 with first-week sales of 73K.  That's a lower debut position and first-week sales tally than Aguilera's last album, Bionic, which bowed at #3 in June 2010 with first-week sales of 111K. Here's the puzzling part: Aguilera's visibility was low back then. She has since starred in a movie, Burlesque, with Cher (which grossed just under $40 million); landed a #1 hit as a featured artist on Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger" and become a TV star on The Voice. Given all that, you might have expected her new album to, at the very least, improve on the showing of Bionic.

The album's first single, "Your Body," peaked at a disappointing #34 on the Hot 100. "Just A Fool," a collabo with Blake Shelton, her fellow judge on The Voice, is expected to debut this week.

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This is the second week in a row that a veteran artist-turned-TV reality star has gotten off to a disappointing start. Aerosmith's Music From Another Dimension!, the band's first album since Steven Tyler's two-year gig as a judge on American Idol, debuted at #5 last week (and dives to #25 this week). Bottom line: If you're a veteran artist, being on a hit TV show increases the number of people who recognize you in airports, but it doesn't necessarily revive your record sales.

There are exceptions. The Voice has boosted Adam Levine, whose group, Maroon 5, has ranked #1 or #2 on the Hot 100 25 times in the past 15 months. And it has helped Blake Shelton, who recently won the CMA Award for Entertainer of the Year (he had never even nominated in that category before The Voice premiered in April 2011). Idol gave at least a temporary lift to Jennifer Lopez, whose "On The Floor" (featuring Pitbull) reached #3 in May 2011, becoming her highest-charting hit in more than eight years.

Aguilera's first three studio albums, from 1999 to 2006, each started with first-week sales of between 250K and 350K. To be fair, album sales were brisker back then overall. Also, Aguilera has been around for 13 years. It's natural for sales to taper off over time. And at least Xtina debuted in the top 10. That's more than you can say for Susan Boyle, whose new album, Standing Ovation: The Greatest Songs From The Stage, debuts at #12. We'll get to her in minute.)

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One Direction this week becomes the first boy band in chart history to land two #1 albums in a calendar year. The quintet's sophomore album, Take Me Home, debuts at #1 with first-week sales of 540K.  The album sold more than three times as many copies as One Direction's debut album, Up All Night, did when it bowed at #1 in March with first-week sales of 176K.

New Kids On The Block, Backstreet Boys, *NSYNC and Jonas Brothers also had two #1 albums each, but in different calendar years.

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Take Me Home posted the biggest first-week sales tally for an album by a boy band since *NSYNC's Celebrity opened with sales of 1,880,000 in July 2001. Take Me Home had the third biggest opening by any album so far in 2012. It trails only Taylor Swift's Red (1,208,000) and Mumford & Sons' Babel (600K).

One Direction is the first act to land two #1 albums in 2012. (Another teen fave, Justin Bieber, was the only act to achieve the feat in 2011.) One Direction may well wind up with two of the 10 best-selling albums of 2012. (Up All Night currently ranks #3 for the year-to-date). This would mark the first time that a non-country artist has had two of the year's top 10 albums in the Nielsen SoundScan era. Garth Brooks had three of the top 10 albums of 1992. Taylor Swift had two of the top 10 albums of 2008.

Take Me Home sold 242K digital copies, which puts it at #1 on Top Digital Albums. Up All Night sold 91K digital copies in its first week.

"Live While We're Young," the album's first single, reached #3 on the Hot 100. Several more songs from the album, notably "Little Things," "She's Not Afraid," "Nobody Compares," "Kiss You" and "Still The One," are vying to debut this week. "Little Things" enters the Official U.K. singles chart at #1. It's the quintet's second #1 in its home country. "What Makes You Beautiful" topped the U.K. chart in September 2011.

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Take Me Home also enters The Official U.K. album chart at #1. It's the first album by a boy band to top the charts in both the U.S. and the U.K. since New Kids' Step By Step in 1990. (The Fine Print: I'm not counting Wham!'s Make It Big. Can a duo be a boy band?)

I have more good news for One Direction fans. Up All Night—The Live Tour logs its 22nd week at #1 on Top Music Videos. That's the longest run at #1 by a boy band since this chart originated (as Top Music Videocassettes) in March 1985. New Kids' Hangin' Tough (1989-90) and Backstreet Boys' Homecoming—Live In Orlando (1999) both  logged 20 weeks at #1.

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The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 debuts at #3. It's the fifth Twilight album to make the top 10, which puts Twilight in a tie with Star Wars as the movie franchise which has spawned the most top 10 soundtrack albums. (Batman is in third place, with four top 10 albums. The tally for Star Wars includes 1980's The Empire Strikes Back. The tally for Batman includes this year's The Dark Knight Rises.) Breaking Dawn, Part 2, which is billed the final installment in the franchise, was #1 at the box-office over the weekend.

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The Weeknd's Trilogy debuts at #4. It's the first full-length album by the 22-year old Canadian R&B artist and producer (real name: Abel Tesfaye). The compilation is mostly drawn from three mix-tapes The Weeknd released in 2011.

Soundgarden's King Animal, the veteran band's first studio album in more than 16 years (I trust they're well rested) debuts at #5. The band had two top five albums in the mid-'90s, Superunknown and Down On The Upside, before taking this long hiatus.

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Green Day's Dos! debuts at #9 with first-week sales of 69K. Uno! debuted and peaked at #2 in September with first-week sales of 139K. Thus, half of those fans took a pass on buying this one, at least in the first week. A third installment, Tre!, is set for release on Dec. 11.

Lana Del Rey's EP, Paradise, debuts at #10. Del Rey's major-label debut album, Born To Die, debuted and peaked at #2 in February. It resurges from #79 to #37 this week.

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Rihanna's "Diamonds" jumps from #3 to #1 on Hot Digital Songs. It also jumps to #1 on the Hot 100, ending Maroon 5's nine-week stranglehold on the top spot. You'll find out all the details later today when we post Chart Watch: Songs.

Here's the low-down on this week's top 10 albums.

The Top Five: One Direction's Take Me Home debuts at #1 (540K). This is the group's second #1 album…Taylor Swift's Red dips from #1 to #2 in its fourth week (145K). This is its fourth week in the top five... The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 debuts at #3 (93K)...The Weeknd's Trilogy debuts at #4 (86K). This is his first top five album…Soundgarden's King Animal debuts at #5 (83K). This is the band's third top five album.

The Second Five: Rod Stewart's Merry Christmas, Baby drops from #3 to #6 (80K). This is its third week in the top 10.,.Christina Aguilera's Lotus debuts at #7 (73K). This is her sixth top 10 album…Now 44 drops from #2 to #8 in its second week (70K)….Green Day's Dos! debuts at #9 (69K). This is the band's ninth top 10 album…Lana Del Rey's Paradise EP debuts at #10 (67K). This is her second top 10 album or EP.

Seven albums drop out of the top 10 this week. Ne-Yo's R.E.D drops from #4 to #23…Aerosmith's Music From Another Dimension! drops from #5 to #25…Jason Aldean's Night Train drops from #6 to #13… Mumford & Sons' Babel drops from #7 to #15… Meek Mill's Dreams And Nightmares drops from #8 to #28…Kendrick Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d. city drops from #9 to #18…Third Day's Miracle dives from #10 to #51.

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The Deftones' Koi No Yokan debuts at #11. This breaks a string of four straight top 10 albums by the alternative-rock band.

Susan Boyle's fourth album, Standing Ovation: The Greatest Songs From The Stage, debuts at #12. Boyle's first three albums all started in the top five. The first two, I Dreamed A Dream and The Gift, both opened at #1. Boyle's appeal owed a great deal to her back-story (the frumpy woman with the golden voice), which is no longer a fresh "hook." Also, the album title is a little stuffy. Barbra Streisand titled a similar album The Broadway Album. Direct is usually better than fancy.

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Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You: The Best Of Whitney Houston debuts at #14. We Will Always Love You: A Grammy Salute To Whitney Houston aired on Friday night. In light of that, I expected a bigger debut. I initially thought this would perform like Michael Jackson's This Is It soundtrack, which sold 373K in its first week in 2009. I think this shows that Houston, as big a star as she was, wasn't in Jackson's league. Also, Jackson's collection was released just four months after his death. Houston's album arrives nine months after her death. (Note: Houston's album may move up once it has a full week of post-special sales.)

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The Rolling Stones' three-disk compilation Grrr! debuts at #19. This is the band's 10th greatest hits package to crack the top 20. Two of them reached #2: 1969's Through The Past, Darkly (Big Hits Vol. 2) and 2002's Forty Licks. The band has also made the top 20 with seven live albums, from 1965's Got Live If You Want It! to 2008's Shine A Light.

Michael Buble's Christmas drops from #18 to #20 in its fourth week back on the chart. It's #1 on Top Catalog Albums for the third straight week.

Justin Bieber's Believe, which drops from #31 to #34 in its 22nd week, tops the 1 million mark in sales this week. This is the third year in a row that Bieber has had a million-selling album. My World 2.0 sold 2,319,000 copies in 2010. Under The Mistletoe sold 1,245,000 copies in 2011.

The Grease soundtrack tops the 6 million mark in Nielsen SoundScan era sales this week. The album millions of additional copies between its release in 1978 and 1991. Since 1991, only four soundtracks have sold more copies: Whitney Houston's The Bodyguard (12,048,000), Titanic (10,173,000), The Lion King (7,839,000) and O Brother, Where Art Thou? (7,764,000).

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Coming Attractions: Rihanna's Unapologetic is expected to debut at #1 next week with sales in the 240K range. It would be her first #1 album. Kid Rock's Rebel Soul will probably start around #3 (160K), followed by Phillip Phillips' The World From The Side Of The Moon (#4, 140K), Led Zeppelin's Celebration Day (#7, 90K) and Keyshia Cole's Woman To Woman (#8, 75K). Kelly Clarkson's Greatest Hits: Chapter One will probably either just make or just miss the top 10 (45K). Also due: Pitbull's Global Warming (35K) and Coldplay's Live 2012 (30K).

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