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Susan Boyle a Thanksgiving sales treat, but Lady Gaga is also a winner

December 2, 2009 | 12:20 pm

BOYLE_AP_3 One of the biggest and most surprising music stories of 2009 has become a failed contestant on "Britain's Got Talent," as Susan Boyle shot to No. 1 on the U.S. pop charts and scored the highest-selling debut week of 2009. A TV-fueled sensation, Boyle's collection of pop standards, "I Dreamed a Dream," sold 701,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Equipped with a compelling rags-to-riches back story, Boyle became a reality TV sensation overseas, and a YouTube hit in America. Her orchestral-pop covers hit a holiday season sweet spot, with Boyle topping  Eminem's "Relapse" to score the best debut week of 2009. The rapper's return landed with 608,000 earlier this year.

Adam Lambert, the week's other TV-driven media craze, fared well, if not exactly landing with a blockbuster debut. His "For Your Entertainment" sold 198,000 copies in the days after his American Music Awards scandal. That's an OK number for an "American Idol" veteran these days, as this season's winner, Kris Allen, can attest, but falls below the expectations Billboard printed last week.

Allen's self-titled debut entered with 80,000 last week, and this week took a major dip. Allen seems to be heading straight to a future of Christmas tree lighting ceremonies and neighborhood parades faster than one can say David Archuleta. Allen went from No. 11 to No. 31 and sold 33,000 copies this week, giving him a two week total of 112,000 copies sold.

Boyle's impressive numbers aside, however, another winner for this sales week was pop star Lady Gaga.

Time will tell if Boyle can translate her 2009 feel-good phenom status into a long-term, consistent seller, and while "I Dreamed a Dream" became the must-have music impulse buy of the first major shopping weekend of the year, Lady Gaga cemented her status as a pop star who's here to stay.

Her dual-pronged retail attack this week gave her the No. 5 and No. 6 positions on the chart. Her eight-track "Fame Monster" sold 174,000 copies, while her 2008 debut, "The Fame," sold an additional 151,000 copies, bolstered by its re-release as a deluxe package with the "Monster" EP.

Together, Gaga product sold 325,000 copies, which bests the sales of Rihanna's much-hyped "Rated R," which opened at No. 4 with 181,000 copies sold. That is, however, a solid number for Rihanna. Billboard reminds us that her "Good Girl Gone Bad" opened with 162,000 when it landed at No. 2 in 2007.

Other albums that did well with holiday shoppers were Miley Cyrus' "Time of Our Lives" EP, which sold 150,000 copies to bring its total to 930,000 copies, and Taylor Swift's "Fearless." The latter added an additional 125,000 copies to its sales total, now at 4.5 million.

-- Todd Martens

Photo: Susan Boyle. Credit: Associated Press


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