By Gerrick D. Kennedy
11:44 AM CST, December 12, 2012
Once again the top of the charts belongs to Taylor Swift. The country pop phenomenon has landed atop the Billboard 200 this week with her latest omnipresent set of love and heartbreak, “Red,” which moved an additional 167,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan.
Swift unseats soul-pop diva Alicia Keys, whose latest album, "Girl on Fire," slipped to No. 7 after moving 77,000 units.
For Swift’s “Red” -- which benefited from an aggressive promotional campaign that didn’t include making it available for online streaming -- this is the fourth non-consecutive week that the disc is No. 1. Last week it was announced the album’s lead single, “We Are Never Getting Back Together," scored a Grammy nomination for record of the year during the prime-time special, which Swift co-hosted with LL Cool J.
“Red’s” return to the top of the charts shut out a number of new releases from the pole position, including Wiz Khalifa and Ke$ha.
The Pittsburgh rapper, whose profile rose considerably over the past year, bowed at No. 2 with his sophomore effort, "O.N.I.F.C.," which sold 141,000, copies. Wiz Khalifa's buzzy debut, 2011's "Rolling Papers," also opened at No. 2 during its release.
Ke$ha, however, didn’t fare as well. Her latest set of gloriously profane jams, "Warrior," was the second-highest debut of the week, but couldn't edge out holiday records from Rod Stewart and Michael Bublé or the cuteness of One Direction.
“Warrior” landed at No. 6 with 85,000 copies sold, a big leap from Ke$ha's 2010’s debut, “Animal,” which opened at No. 1 after selling 152,000 in its first week.
Holiday cheer is still paying dividends for a handful of festive releases. Stewart's "Merry Christmas, Baby" held at No. 3 with 127,000. Bublé’s "Christmas" (originally released last year and reissued in November) jumped two spots to land at No. 5 after his jazz and pop take on Christmas classics sold 106,000 copies.
Country crooner and coach on NBC's “The Voice” Blake Shelton rounds out the Top 10 with his first holiday release, "Cheers, It's Christmas,” which added an additional 68,000 copies to its tally.