David Cook, Beyonce, Chad Kroeger

Frank Micelotta/FOX, Kevin Mazur/Getty Images, Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Apparently, it takes two Beyoncés to beat a pair of rock studs.

In one of the year's more competitive sales weeks, Ms. Knowles' double-disc I Am...Sasha Fierce rolled past rockin' new albums by Nickelback and David Cook that would have topped the charts most any other week. Beyoncé scored her third No. 1 album in three tries by selling 483,000 copies, easily eclipsing Nickelback (No. 2, 327,000) and the reigning American Idol champ (No. 3, 289,000).

Beyoncé did have a little help, though. In the spirit of Eminem-Slim Shady and T.I.-T.I.P., the singer introduced her more aggressive alter ego, Sasha Fierce, on the album's second disc. Up until this time, Sasha only appeared in live performances.

I Am topped 2003's Dangerously in Love debut (317,000), but trailed 2006's B-Day (541,000). She also gets family bragging rights over Jay-Z, who sold 425,000 first-week copies of American Gangster last November.

Beyoncé also dominated the Digital Tracks charts with "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" debuting at No. 1 on 204,000 downloads, dropping her single "If I Were a Boy" to No. 2 on 160,000 downloads.

About the only thing Beyoncé didn't do is beat Taylor Swift for the year's biggest female debut (592,000 for Fearless, which fell to No. 4 this week).

Nickelback's Dark Horse galloped in a strong second place. The Canadian rockers, who signed an all-inclusive deal with Live Nation earlier this year, just announced the launch of their North American tour in Nashville on Feb. 25.

Cook, meanwhile, got plenty of cougars to shell out for his eponymous debut. In comparison to Idol's other recent stars, Cook sold nearly 100,000 more copies than rival David Archuleta and twice as many copies as season seven champ Jordin Sparks. (Archuleta, whose eponymous debut opened at No. 2 last week, dropped to No. 11 in its second week.) Cook's album also sold 59,000 digital copies, a new record for a debut artist.

Il Divo's The Promise, which topped the U.K. charts last week, opened at No. 5 (162,000), ahead of the Twilight soundtrack (125,000), which actually sold 17 percent more than the previous week thanks to the film's blockbuster opening.

Just missing the top 10, Dido's Safe Trip Home debuted at No. 13 (51,000).

Other debuts making a Thanksgiving week cluck included Mudvayne's New Game at No. 15, Zac Brown Band's The Foundation at No. 17, Slim's Love's Crazy at No. 32 and Blake Shelton's Startin' Fires at No. 34.

Overall, album sales were up 6 percent over last week but still down 32 percent relative to the same week in '07, when Josh Groban's Noël made its first chart-topping appearance. Fittingly, Noël currently tops the Catalog chart.

Here's a recap of the top 10, based on figures from Nielsen SoundScan:

  1. I Am…Sasha Fierce, Beyoncé
  2. Dark Horse, Nickelback
  3. David Cook, David Cook
  4. Fearless, Taylor Swift
  5. The Promise, Il Divo
  6. Twilight soundtrack, various
  7. Now That's What I Call Music! 29, various
  8. High School Musical 3: Senior Year soundtrack, various
  9. And Winter Came, Enya
  10. Black Ice, AC/DC
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