LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - British singing sensation Susan Boyle's first album soared to No. 1 on U.S. album charts on Wednesday with sales of 701,000 copies, beating new releases by Adam Lambert and Rihanna and becoming the best-selling debut of 2009.
Boyle, 48, a frumpy Scottish singer who became an international YouTube phenomenon after appearing on TV show "Britain's Got Talent", also topped the British album charts earlier this week.
Her "I Dreamed a Dream" release through Sony Music Entertainment, marked the best U.S. opening of a female artist's debut album since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991, Billboard.com said.
It was also the fastest selling album in Britain this year and has topped the charts in Australia and Ireland.
Billboard said only one album in SoundScan's tracking history had seen a bigger opening week than Boyle.
U.S. rapper Snoop Dogg's album "Doggystyle" sold 803,000 copies in its first week in 1993 -- before traditional album sales began tumbling in the face of piracy and a shift to digital sales.
Although Boyle ultimately failed to win "Britain's Got Talent", her April audition for the show has been viewed more than 300 million times on the Internet.
In a good week for stars of TV talent shows, "American Idol" runner-up Adam Lambert's debut album "For Your Entertainment", also released through Sony, debuted at No.3 on the Billboard 200 with 198,000 copies sold.
Lambert's strong showing followed headline news coverage of his raunchy televised live performance at the American Music Awards 10 days ago in which he simulated oral sex with a dancer and kissed a male keyboard player.
R&B singer Rihanna's "Rated R", her first studio album since being attacked by her then-boyfriend Chris Brown in February, bowed in at No.4 with 181,000 copies -- the best sales week in the 21 year-old singer's career.
Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli held onto the No.2 spot for a third week with his "My Christmas" album with 218,000 new copies sold during the week.
Overall U.S. album sales last week totaled 10.73 million units. Year to date album sales stand at $320.2 million -- a 13 percent decrease over the same period in 2008, SoundScan said.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte