LOS ANGELES – Usher scored his third consecutive No. 1 album on the US pop chart Wednesday as the R&B singer ended the one-week reign of Canadian pop idol Justin Bieber.
Usher's "Raymond v Raymond" sold 329,000 copies during the week ended April 4, according to Nielsen SoundScan. It marks the third-best sales week of the year, following the debuts of Sade's "Soldier of Love" (502,000) and Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" (481,000).
He previously led the tally with 2008's "Here I Stand" (443,000 copies in its first week) and 2004's "Confessions" (1.1 million).
He supported the new set's release last week with stops on "American Idol" and "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," and on both he performed his new single "OMG." The single is expected to make a handsome debut on the Billboard Hot 100 when the new chart is unveiled Thursday.
Bieber's "My World 2.0" slipped to No. 2 with 291,000 though it enjoyed a rare sales boost, up 3%, with help from the Easter holiday. Its two-week total stands at 574,000. Bieber remained No. 1 in Canada, where Usher debuted at No. 4.
The last time an artist's album, released on a Tuesday, enjoyed a second-week increase from a No. 1 debut was during Thanksgiving week of 2000. That's when the Beatles' hits set "1" claimed an 11% increase despite dipping to No. 2.
Hot on the heels of the release of her much-blogged-about music video for "Window Seat," in which she strolls naked through Dallas' Dealey Plaza, R&B singer Erykah Badu's "New Amerykah, Part Two: Return of the Ankh" entered the chart at No. 4 with 110,000. It's the follow up to 2008's "New Amerykah: Part One (4th World War)," which bowed at No. 2 with 124,000.
Alan Jackson rolled in at No. 7 with "Freight Train," which shifted 72,000 copies in its first week. The country singer's last album, 2008's "Good Time," debuted at No. 1 with 119,000 copies.
As for the rest of the top 10: the "Now 33" compilation held at No. 3 with 123,000 in its second week, while Lady Antebellum's sturdy "Need You Now" slipped one to No. 5 with 87,000. The set has spent its entire 10-week chart run lodged inside the top five of the chart, selling 1.6 million copies.
Monica's "Still Standing" fell four to No. 6 with 81,000 in its second week. Bieber's first "My World" dropped three to No. 8 with 63,000.
Rounding out the top 10 were Lady Gaga's "The Fame," down one at No. 9 with 49,000; and the Black Eyed Peas' "The E.N.D." holding steady at No. 10 with 43,000.
Other new entries included rappers Method Man, Ghostface Killah and Raekwon's "Wu Massacre" at No. 12, Canada's Barenaked Ladies at No. 23 with "All in Good Time," and country singer Gretchen Wilson's "I Got Your Country Right Here" at No. 34.
Overall album sales totaled 6.84 million units, up 13% compared to the previous week, and down 4% compared to the comparable sales week of 2009. Year-to-date album sales stand at 81.95 million, down 8% compared to the same total at this point last year.