Coldplay, Mylo Xyloto, Kelly Clarkson, Stronger

Whose album will win this week, Coldplay's or Kelly Clarkson's?
—BlueEyez, via in the inbox

Is there some sort of new feud I don't know about? Anyway, here's a hint: Yes, both artists are huge, and both have albums debuting today.

But one of these parties is way out of the other's league. Can you guess which one?

Yes, Kelly Clarkson still has the insta-audience that she earned from her 2002 American Idol win. She also has a history that includes at least one No. 1 album and the rather quaint advantage of actually being able to sing.

Still, she is no match for Mr. Gwyneth Paltrow (aka Chris Martin) and his merry band of stadium legends.

It's too soon to predict precise sales, of course, but, as Billboard Associate Director of Charts Keith Caulfield tells me, "it's assumed that Coldplay will be No. 1 and Kelly will be No. 2" on the album charts this week.

It's not personal.

It's just that Coldplay is a monster.

Their last album, which came out in 2008, sold a whopping 721,000 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. And, yes, that's considered way good.

Sure, we do still witness the occasional album selling more than a million in its first week, such as L'il Wayne's Tha Carter 3 from 2008. But that doesn't make sales of Coldplay's Viva La Vida any less admirable, especially in this economy.

Meanwhile, Clarkson.

Her last album, released in 2009, sold 255,000 copies in its first week. Like Viva La Vida, All I Ever Wanted debuted at No. 1, but her sales weren't exactly in the same league as Coldplay's. Her new single is doing fine, but, as Caulfield puts it, "it's not exactly setting the world on fire," hence the prediction for a No. 2 album chart debut.

So why the big difference in sales? Simple. Like I said, Coldplay is a monster.

"Coldplay is a stadium-selling rock band that is part of the same family tree as, say, U2," Caulfield explains. "They're a consistent 'album act,' a group that's more about a full album experience than selling individual singles or tracks. Kelly is just in a different category."

And, really, given how many fans Clarkson still has, No. 2 isn't bad.

So, which album are you most excited about?

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