May 18, 2013 7:20am PT by Keith Caulfield, Billboard
George Strait and Demi Lovato Bound for Top Three on Billboard 200
Country icon George Strait is heading for a No. 2 debut on the Billboard 200 chart next week with his new album, Love Is Everything. Meanwhile, Demi Lovato's fourth studio effort, Demi, is aiming for a No. 3 bow. According to industry sources, the albums are projected to sell about 120,000 and 110,000, respectively, by the end of the tracking week on Sunday, May 19.
The No. 1 position next week will likely be owned by Vampire Weekend's Modern Vampires of the City, with perhaps 130,000 copies sold.
The new Billboard 200 chart's top 10 will be revealed on the morning of Wednesday, May 22.
CONCERT REVIEW: Vampire Weekend, Steve Buscemi Team Up for Hometown Show
If Vampire Weekend sells that much of its new set, it will mark the best sales week for the band. Their previous high-water mark was logged when its last studio album, 2010's Contra, started at No. 1 with 124,000 sold, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Modern Vampires will mark the second chart-topper for the rock band.
As for Strait, his new album should debut stronger than his last studio set, 2011's Here for a Good Time. That effort entered at No. 3 with 91,000. The veteran performer will likely lock up his 18th top 10 album on the Billboard 200 next week with Love Is Everything.
This past week, the album's current single, "Give It All We Got Tonight," became the 60-year old's 86th top 10 hit on the Hot Country Songs chart. He continues to have the second-most Country Songs top 10s in history, as only Eddy Arnold, with 92, has more.
Switching gears to Demi Lovato, her new Demi set may sell around 110,000 -- possibly her best sales week yet. She'll likely settle for a No. 3 start behind Vampire Weekend and George Strait, however.
Lovato's last album, 2011's Unbroken, started at No. 4 with 96,000. She previously opened at No. 1 with her sophomore set, Here We Go Again, in 2009 (108,000 in its debut). Her first album, 2008's Don't Forget, debuted and peaked at No. 2 off an 89,000 launch.
After those three new albums, the next-highest new entry next week looks to be Amy Grant's new How Mercy Looks From Here. The set may shift around 30,000 copies and start somewhere in the top 15.
On SoundScan's Building chart, Lovato is No. 1 while Vampire Weekend is No. 2. The Building tally is a precursor to the final Billboard 200 ranking -- reflecting the first four days (Monday through Thursday) of SoundScan's tracking week as reported by six major merchants. While it appears that Lovato -- at least by the Building Chart's ranking -- as the lead over Vampire Weekend, that will change over the weekend, and on the official Billboard 200 chart next week.
As for the rest of the Building chart's top 10: Pistol Annies and Now 46 are Nos. 3 and 4, respectively, while Michael Buble's To Be Loved sits at No. 5. Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience is No. 6, Kenny Chesney's Life On a Rock is No. 7 and Stewart is No. 8. Blake Shelton's Based On a True Story is No. 9 and the new The Music of Nashville, Vol. 2 -- the second soundtrack to the TV series Nashville -- is No. 10.