Looks like Usher's the last man standing.
The R&B megastar might not have duplicated the seven-figure sales debut of Confessions, but the follow-up Here I Stand dominated the album charts, selling 443,000 copies for the week that ended Sunday, per Nielsen SoundScan numbers.
Here I Stand easily finished at No. 1 despite a strong debut by the Fergie- and Jennifer Hudson-powered Sex and the City soundtrack. Usher's album also topped the charts in Canada, Australia and the U.K.
The U.S. sales were second only to Mariah Carey's E=MC2, which finished with 20,000 copies more in its first week.
Usher, who appeared in Broadway's Chicago between albums, made a big music return with "Love in the Club," which made the fourth largest jump to No. 1 in Hot 100 history. The follow-up single, "Moving Mountains," is currently working its way up the charts.
In 2004, Usher's Confessions sold 1.1 million first-week copies, the biggest sales week ever for an R&B artist. As a sign of declining music industry sales, only one album has claimed a million-copy week since—50 Cent's The Massacre—which sold 1.14 first-week copies in early 2005.
While Usher was the clear-cut chart champ, the SATC soundtrack followed at No. 2, moving 66,000 copies, thanks in large part to the film's weekend dominance at the box office.
With a pair of debuts topping the charts, 3 Doors Down's self-titled album fell to No. 3, selling another 63,000 copies.
Al Green's Lay It Down, produced by ?uestlove of The Roots, scored the week's final Top 10 bow, selling 34,000 copies at No. 9. This marks the highest debut and first Top 10 opening for the music preacher, and his highest chart position in 36 years.
Elsewhere, Cyndi Lauper's Bring Ya to the Brink sold 12,000 copies at No. 41 and Fergie's The Dutchess: The Deluxe EP sold 11,000 copies at No. 46. Fergie's new EP features the four new tracks added to the new deluxe version of her hit album, which itself also soared 76 spots to No. 28. The EP and deluxe reissue also feature the SATC single "Labels or Love."
Other noteworthy bows included Spiritualized's Songs in A&E at No. 157 and Plies' Real Testament at 187.
Overall, sales were up 0.5 percent from last week but still down 13 percent compared to the same sales week in 2007. New albums by Disturbed, Ashanti and Weezer and Now That's What I Call Music! Vol. 28 will likely boost sales for next week's chart.
Here's a recap of the Top 10:
1. Here I Stand, Usher
2. Sex and the City soundtrack, various
3. 3 Doors Down, 3 Doors Down
4. II Trill, Bun B
5. Spirit, Leona Lewis
6. Nothing But the Best, Frank Sinatra
7. Rockferry, Duffy
8. E=MC2, Mariah Carey
9. Lay It Down, Al Green
10. Narrow Stairs, Death Cab for Cutie