Alicia Keys dethrones Rihanna from Billboard top spot

LOS ANGELES, Dec 5 (Reuters) - American R&B singer Alicia

Keys scored her fifth No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 album

chart on Wednesday with "Girl on Fire," unseating reigning chart

queen Rihanna.

Keys' fifth studio album sold 159,000 copies, according to

Nielsen SoundScan, which was the lowest opening week of sales

for any of the soulful singer's career.

Keys, 31, held off country-pop starlet Taylor Swift's "Red"

and Rod Stewart's "Merry Christmas, Baby" for the top spot.

British boy band One Direction's "Take Me Home" and

country-rock singer Phillip Phillips' "The World from the Side

of the Moon" were fourth and fifth on the chart respectively.

Rihanna's "Unapologetic" slid to sixth in its second week on the

chart.

Keys' only album not to debut atop the Billboard chart was

2009's "The Element of Freedom," which sold 417,000 copies in

its first week but was thwarted from the top spot by British

talent-show sensation Susan Boyle's "I Dreamed a Dream."

First-week sales of "Girl on Fire" were in line with

industry expectations of 145,000 to 170,000 units sold,

Billboard said.

Album sales tumbled the week after the holiday shopping

season kicked off, falling 23 percent overall. Only 13 albums

picked up more sales in the top 100 this week, not counting

chart debuts and re-entries.

The 7.52 million albums sold last week was a decline of 7

percent from the same week last year. In 2012, some 275.3

million albums have been sold so far, marking a 4 percent

decline compared with the same point in 2011, according to

Nielsen.

Black Eyed Peas mastermind will.i.am's single "Scream &

Shout" featuring Britney Spears knocked Korean viral dance hit

"Gangnam Style" by PSY out of the top spot in digital songs.

"Scream & Shout," which was released on Nov. 21, leaped from

No. 66 to the top spot with 169,000 downloads.

The electronic pop-dance song was buoyed by the music

video's premiere on the U.S. television singing show "The X

Factor," which stars Spears as a judge, and as the feature music

of an TV advertising campaign for headphones starring will.i.am.

(Reporting by Eric Kelsey, editing by Jill Serjeant and Maureen

Bavdek)

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