Chart Watch Extra: What Will Be This Year’s Top Christmas Album?
Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace, but a war is being waged to determine who will have the year's top new Christmas album. Top contenders are Kelly Clarkson's Wrapped In Red and Susan Boyle's Home For Christmas, which are being released today (Tuesday), and Mary J. Blige's A Mary Christmas, which was released two weeks ago.
These artists aren't just competing for bragging rights. Christmas albums are big business. Overall album sales have declined in the past decade, but Christmas albums are holding their own. Fans view them as a worthwhile investment. After all, Christmas tends to come around every year.
A Christmas album has ranked among the year's five best-selling albums in four of the last six years. Josh Groban's Noel was the best-selling album of 2007. Andrea Bocelli's My Christmas was #5 for 2009. Boyle's first holiday album, The Gift, was #5 for 2010. Michael Buble's Christmas was #2 for 2011.
Either Clarkson or Blige would make history if she led the holiday derby this year. Either would be the first female American artist to have the year's top holiday album since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking music sales in 1991. The only female artists to have had the top holiday album of a calendar year in this period are Celine Dion and Sarah McLachlan (both from Canada), Charlotte Church (from Wales) and Boyle (from Scotland). (See list below.)
What's more, Blige would become the first African American artist to have the year's top holiday seller in the Nielsen SoundScan era. That would be a real breakthrough, because Blige is a core R&B artist (as opposed to a pop/R&B crossover powerhouse like Mariah Carey, whose Merry Christmas was the #2 holiday album of 1994).
If Clarkson comes out on top, this would be the second time that an American Idol alum has had the year's top holiday seller. Clay Aiken's Merry Christmas With Love was the top holiday album of 2004.