Kelly Clarkson tops U.S. album chart
By Keith Caulfield
LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Kelly Clarkson, the original "American Idol" champ, netted her second No. 1 album on the U.S. pop album chart Wednesday, while the previous week's chart-topper, U2, dropped to the No. 3 slot on a sharp slide in sales.
The pop-rock singer-songwriter's fourth effort, "All I Ever Wanted," climbed into the penthouse of the Billboard 200 with sales of 255,000 during the week ended March 15.
Her first chart-topper came with her debut set, "Thankful," which began with sales of 297,000 in 2003. She followed it with "Breakaway" in 2004 (a No. 3 debut with 250,000) and 2007's "My December" (No. 2 with 291,000).
Clarkson's return to the top of the chart must be a welcome relief after the relatively poor performance of "My December." The latter set started off well with 291,000, but fell off the chart after just 18 weeks and has sold only 788,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. That pales in comparison with "Breakaway," which has moved 6.1 million albums.
Clarkson led a debut-heavy chart and was one of six albums bowing in the top 20. The-Dream floated in with "Love Vs. Money" at No. 2 with 151,000, J. Holiday's "Round 2" rang the bell at No. 4 with 55,000, Chris Cornell's "Scream" entered at No. 10 with 26,000, New Found Glory's "Not Without a Fight" bowed at No. 12 with 23,000, and the "Punk Goes Pop Vol. 2" compilation started at No. 15 with 21,000.
At No. 2, U2's "No Line on the Horizon" moved 132,000 copies, down nearly 73 percent in its second week of release. Taylor Swift's "Fearless" slipped to No. 5 with 52,000 (down just 1 percent), while Lady GaGa's "The Fame" fell two rungs to No. 6 with 47,000 but posted a hearty 10 percent increase in sales. Nickelback's "Dark Horse" declined from No. 5 to No. 7 with 36,000, Beyonce's "I Am ... Sasha Fierce" held at No. 8 (28,000), and Jamie Foxx's "Intuition" slipped from No. 6 to No. 9 with 27,000.
Total album sales stood at 6.62 million units, down 6.2 percent from the previous week and down 16.6 percent from the year-earlier period. Year-to-date album sales, at 77.5 million, were down 12 percent.
(Editing by Sheri Linden at Reuters)