Susan Boyle blocks Alicia Keys from top of chart

Wed Dec 23, 2009 3:18pm EST
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By Keith Caulfield

LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - There's just no stopping Susan Boyle on the U.S. pop chart.

Her debut album "I Dreamed a Dream" claimed the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 for a fourth week in a row Wednesday, denying Alicia Keys a shot at the top.

It sold 661,000 copies during the week ended December 20, according to Nielsen SoundScan, taking its total to 2,465,000 copies -- the second-best selling album of 2009. Only Taylor Swift's "Fearless" -- a 2008 release with 2,933,000 copies sold this year -- is standing in its way. And with two weeks left in the 2009 tracking year, anything is possible.

Keys' "The Element of Freedom" debuted at No. 2 with 417,000. All four of her previous albums -- three studio sets and an "Unplugged" release -- started at No. 1. Her last effort, "As I Am," kicked off with 742,000 copies during Thanksgiving week of 2007.

However, Keys still has a chance of eventually reaching No. 1. The set could rise to the top next month when (and if) the Boyle hysteria dies down.

The second-biggest new arrival was Robin Thicke's "Sex Therapy: The Session," which began at No. 9 with 123,000. It's the singer's third top 10 set in a row, following "The Evolution of Robin Thicke" (No. 5 in 2007) and "Something Else" (No. 3 in 2008). The latter album opened with 137,000 copies.

The only other debuts on the Billboard 200 were all the way down at Nos. 172 (the "Avatar" soundtrack) and 198 (Phil Vassar's "Traveling Circus").

After five weeks at No. 2, Andrea Bocelli's "My Christmas" slipped to No. 3 with 390,000. The seasonal set has blown through 1.9 million copies and is now Bocelli's third-best seller after 1997's "Romanza" (4.2 million) and 1999's "Sogno" (2.5 million).   Continued...