Nickelback and Michael Buble were in an extremely tight race for the top of The Billboard 200 this week, but it was the latter that won out. The soft jazz singer’s “Christmas” sold slightly more than 227,000 copies, while the Canadian rock band’s new “Here and Now” debuted with just a little less than 227,000, a difference of 0.18%.
 
That makes it three No. 1 albums for Buble, who took the top with 2007’s “Call Me Irresponsible” and 2009’s “Crazy Love.” This week’s sum is also his best sales week ever.
 
Nickelback’s last album, 2008’s “Dark Horse,” debuted at No. 2 also, but started with 326,000.
 
Rihanna’s “Talk That Talk” also bows this week, starting at No. 3 with 197,000. It arrives on the heels of her last effort, last year’s “Loud,” which debuted about the same time last year at No. 2 with 207,000.
 
Drake’s “Take Care” takes a 73% sales hit, sliding No. 1 to No. 4 with 173,000.
 
Mary J. Blige’s ninth album “My Life II: The Journey Continues, Act 1” enters at No. 5 with 156,000. Her previous “Stronger with Each Tear” (2009) made it to No. 2 with 330,000.
 
Justin Bieber’s former No. 1 holiday album “Under the Mistletoe” slips No. 5 to No. 6 even with a 69% sales increase to 142,000. Adele’s “21” moves No. 3 to No. 7 (140,000, +24%) – the first time that the album has been outside of the top 5 in its 40-week run.
 
Daughtry’s “Break the Spell” debuts at No. 8 with 129,000; the “American Idol” star Chris Daughtry’s last album “Leave This Town” (2009) and the Daughtry self-titled debut from 2007 both reached No. 1, though the latter started at No. 2.
 
Another “AI” star, Scotty McCreery sees his “Clear as Day” climbing No. 13 to No. 9 (88,000, +165%) while Coldplay’s “Mylo Xyloto” slips No. 9 to No. 10 (79,000, +46%)
 
Album sales for the week are up 39% over last week and down 5% compared to the same week last year. Sales for the year are up 2% so far.