Despite being up against other heavy-hitting new releases last Tuesday, John Mayer takes the cake on The Billboard 200 this week with “Battle Studies,” his second No. 1 on that tally. His 2003 album “Heavier Things” took the top, too, with 317,000. This effort starts with 286,000.

Mayer shouldn’t get too comfortable up top, as we’ve warned you: Susan Boyle is coming.

Andrea Bocelli’s “My Christmas” holds tight to No. 2 with 185,000 (+36%), threatening a chart domination akin to Josh Groban’s 2007 throwdown with “Noel.”

Norah Jones’ “The Fall” ends her parade of No. 1s, bowing at No. 3; her previous three took the summit, including 2007’s “Not Too Late.” “The Fall” moved 180,000 copies.

Christian act Casting Crowns’ “Until the Whole World Hears” gives the group its best sales week ever with 167,000, but just shy of its chart peak at No. 4. The group’s 2007 album “The Altar and the Door” started with 129,000, but at No. 2.

50 Cent’s “Before I Self Destruct” had a few tumultuous days (even years) up ‘til sale, and it yielded a No. 5 entry with 160,000 this week. The album was originally going to be released in 2007, ended up being preceded by “Curtis,” the release date was moved several times, “Baby By Me” was dropped last month and the released date was bumped up to Nov. 9 digitally and Nov. 16 due to a leak of the album online. The label wished for that first week’s numbers to be suppressed until the charting week this week.


And yet it ended up being one of 50 Cent’s lowest charting album since 2003. His major albums, since “Get Rich or Die Tryin’” have all debuted at No. 1 or No. 2 until now.

Pre-teen heartthrob Justin Bieber’s “My World” debuts at No. 6 with 137,000, beating out another national crush, Kris Allen, and his self-titled effort, at No. 11 with 80,000. Them Crooked Vultures start right behind that at No. 12 with 70,000. Leona Lewis takes No. 13 with 67,000 with “Echo” – her debut “Spirit” started at No. 1 with 205,000 in April 2008.

Back in the top tier, Michael Jackson compilation “This Is It” slips 4-7 (96,000, -18%), the “Twilight Saga: New Moon” soundtrack climbs 8-10 (93,000, +77) after the film premiered last Friday, Carrie Underwood’s “Play On” descends 3-9 (86,000, -33%) and Taylor Swift’s “Fearless” moves 5-10 (84,000, -8%).