Groban ties Presley's holiday album record


UPDATED 3:18 p.m. PT Dec. 12

Fifty years ago, "Elvis' Christmas Album" spent three weeks at No. 1 before stepping aside for a musical icon from the previous generation: Bing Crosby. A week later, the King usurped the throne again.

Fast-forward to the digital era, and Josh Groban has matched Elvis Presley's record of three straight weeks atop the Billboard 200 with a holiday album. Can the popera star's "Noel" set the standard next week? Well, the reunited Wu-Tang Clan might something to say about that.

Meanwhile, "Noel" has moved more than a half-million copies in each of the past two weeks to become the year's third-biggest album at 2.1 million units. And with three sales weeks left in 2007, it has a good shot at passing the "High School Musical 2" soundtrack (2.5 million) and Daughtry's self-titled debut (2.3 million) as the year's top seller.

The Groban album will have a tough time matching last year's top-selling disc, but it could happen. "Noel" would need to move about 1.6 million to catch the "High School Musical" soundtrack (3.7 million).

Only one album debuts in the top 10 this week: beatbox boy Blake Lewis' "Audio Day Dream." The "American Idol" runner-up matches the chart position of the woman who beat him out on the show this year, Jordin Sparks, but his sales tally fell 21,000 short of her self-titled record, which bowed two weeks ago.

Lewis' opening sales week and chart debut is lower than that of three other "Idol" runner-ups' debuts (Clay Aiken, Bo Bice and Katharine McPhee), but larger than two others (Justin Guarini and Diana DeGarmo).

Also in the top 10, Alicia Keys' "As I Am" (J) climbs a notch from third to second with 234,000 (a 9% drop), while the Eagles' "Long Road Out of Eden" (Eagles Recording Co.) flip-flops with it, falling from No. 2 to No. 3 with 204,000 (a 35% decline). The multilabel "Now 26" hits compilation holds tight at No. 4 for a second week with 158,000, with a 25% sales boost.

Miley Cyrus' Disney double-disc set "Hannah Montana 2 (Soundtrack)/Meet Miley Cyrus" ascends from No. 7 to No. 5 with a 37% increase to 132,000. Another Disney sequel set, "High School Musical 2," keeps the No. 6 spot warm for a third week straight with 128,000 (a 31% climb). Selling 107,000, Carrie Underwood's "Carnival Ride" (Arista Nashville) slides up from No. 9 to No. 7 with a 20% sales bump. Meanwhile, Garth Brooks' Pearl set "The Ultimate Hits" slips from No. 5 to No. 8 with a 7% sales hit to 105,000.

Big Machine artist Taylor Swift's self-titled debut re-enters the top tier from No. 12 to No. 9 at 99,000 with a 39% sales boost. The young singer earned a best new artist Grammy nod last week and has also scored her first No. 1 on the Hot Country Songs tally with "Our Song."

Total album sales are up 17.9% from last week at 14.6 million but down 23.3% year-over-year.

Foo Fighters breaks a record as "The Pretender" marks a 17th week atop Billboard's Alternative/Modern Rock chart. The song also earned a record of the year Grammy nom last week.

Billboard analyst Keith Caulfield in Los Angeles contributed to this report.