NEW YORK (Billboard) - Josh Groban's "Noel" ruled the pop album charts for a fifth week Thursday, a record for a Christmas release, while Mary J. Blige's new CD provided some stiff competition as overall sales surged in the holiday shopping frenzy.
Groban's "Noel" sold 757,000 copies in the week ended December 23, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It previously shared the Christmas record with Elvis Presley's 1957 "Elvis' Christmas Album," which spent four nonconsecutive weeks at No. 1.
Blige's "Growing Pains," the only debut to crack the top 10, landed at No. 2 with 629,000 copies. Exactly two years ago, the R&B singer's previous album "The Breakthrough" opened at No. 1 with 727,000 copies.
Overall sales rose 42% over the previous week to 25.57 million units, but lagged behind the same week in 2006 by 18% (31.26 million).
Alicia Keys' "As I Am" slipped one place to No. 3 with 474,000 copies. The Eagles' "Long Road Out of Eden" was also down one, to No. 4, with 313,000. Miley Cyrus' double-disc set "Hannah Montana 2 (Soundtrack)/Meet Miley Cyrus" jumped two to No. 5 with 260,000.
The "Now 26" multi-artist hits compilation fell two to No. 6 with 235,000 copies. Carrie Underwood jumped two to No. 7 with "Carnival Ride," which sold 216,000. Fellow country star Taylor Swift held at No. 8 with her self-titled debut, selling 187,000.
Disney's "High School Musical 2" fell three to No. 9 with 185,000 copies, and Chris Brown rebounded two to No. 10 with sales of 176,000 copies for "Exclusive."
Other debuted included Jaheim's "The Makings of a Man" at No. 11, Lupe Fiasco's "Lupe Fiasco's The Cool" at No. 15, and Kirk Franklin's "The Fight of My Life" at No. 33.