On the charts: In Usher V. Bieber bout, Usher is the ultimate winner
It's an Usher-heavy pop chart this week, as the R&B star scores another No. 1 album, and two other top 10 slots are occupied by his young protege, Justin Bieber. Usher's "Raymond V. Raymond" sold 330,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan, giving the suave pop star his third straight No. 1.
Sales of "Raymond" don't quite match those of his 2008 album, "Here I Stand," which industry-trade, keeper-of-the-charts Billboard Magazine reports opened with 443,000 copies. But Usher shouldn't feel too bad, as his business reach is widely evident on this week's tally. His teen-pop production find -- Bieber -- has the No. 2 album with "My World 2.0," which sold 290,000 copies. Usher signed and has produced the artist.
In two weeks, Bieber's "My World 2.0" has moved a total of 574,000 copies. It's worth nothing that Beiber is the rare artist in recent history who has sold more albums in his second week than in his first. The cut debuted with 283,000 copies sold, but Bieber has remained one of the week's hottest media topics, visiting the White House and taking over FunnyOrDie.com. This weekend, he'll be the musical guest on "Saturday Night Live."
Bieber also owns the No. 8 spot, for his album "My World," which sold an additional 63,000 copies. Since its release last fall, Bieber's debut has shifted more than 1.1 million copies.
Further down, Erykah Badu, who scored plenty of media attention for going nude on the streets of Dallas, lands at No. 4 with her "New Amerykah, Part Two: Return of the Ankh." The set sold about 110,000 copies, which, according to Billboard, isn't too far off from the 124,000 first-week sales for "New Amerykah: Part One (4th World War)" in 2008.
Alan Jackson's "Freight Train" enters the chart at No. 7, moving 72,000 copies in its first week. Billboard reports that it is Jackson's third-highest debut week, but 11th overall top 10 album.
Plenty of new albums hit retailers this week, including efforts from Slash , Jakob Dylan and a live collection from Madonna, but none likely has the power to dethrone Bieber or Usher from the top of the tally. Overall sales in the U.S., according to Billboard, are trailing those of 2009 by about 8%.
-- Todd Martens
Photo: Usher. Credit: Getty Images