Britney's Circus Act No Match for Taylor

Taylor Swift's Fearlessreturned to No. 1 on the charts, topping Britney's Circus and Beyonce's I Am. . .Sasha Fierce

By David Jenison Dec 17, 2008 8:15 PMTags
Taylor Swift, Britney SpearsKevin Winter/Getty Images; Tony R. Phipps/Getty Images

Wow, that Circus packed up and left town in a hurry.

Sales of Britney Spears' ballyhooed comeback dropped 60 percent in its second week (from 505,000 to 200,000, per Nielsen SoundScan), falling to No. 2 on the album charts behind Taylor Swift's still-strong Fearless.

"Back at number one? Seriously??" read the title of Swift's blog post in reaction to the good news.

Swift's album, now in its fifth week, sold 249,000 for an overall tally of 1.5 million. Beyoncé's I Am…Sasha Fierce checked in at No. 3 with 159,000.

The chart-topping trio happen to own the year's three biggest debuts by female artists, coincidentally ranking in the order in which they appear on this week's chart.

The threesome also control half the Top 10 on this week's Digital Tracks chart. Spears' "Circus" and Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" are 1-2.

Swift, who just had her wisdom teeth removed Monday, wrote that the news of Fearless' return to the top gave her "something really wonderful to wake up to."

"I was told about Fearless going BACK to number one on the all-genre albums chart! I can't BELIEVE it! I never thought that would happen!! I can't thank you enough for that. It's just so amazing."

While overall sales were up 14 percent from last week, there wasn't anything new in the Top 10. Musiq Soulchild's onmyradio came close, selling 91,000 copies at No. 11, while Common sold 82,000 of Universal Mind Control at No. 12.

Brandy's attempt to mount her own comeback with Human failed to click, only managing to bow at No. 15 on sales of 73,000.

The week did have one other big seller that didn't make the Billboard 200. Last year Josh Groban's Noël dominated the No. 1 spot for all of December before dropping off in January. As the new holiday season rolled around, Oprah's holiday fave rocketed to No. 1 on the Catalog chart, where it currently sits, selling another 159,000 copies for the week. It sold just a few hundred copies less than Beyoncé's I Am…Sasha Fierce.

Noël so dominated that sales for this same week last year were up nearly 50 percent.

Here's a look at the new Top 10 album chart:

1. Fearless, Taylor Swift
2. Circus, Britney Spears
3. I Am… Sasha Fierce, Beyoncé
4. Dark Horse, Nickelback
5. Twilight soundtrack, various
6. 808s & Heartbreak, Kanye West
7. Now That's What I Call Music! 29, various
8. Black Ice, AC/DC
9. High School Musical 3 soundtrack, various
10. David Cook, David Cook