According to the latest SoundScan tally, sales of Noël spiked by 81 percent to 405,000, following the Grammy-nominated baritone's appearance last week on "The Oprah Winfrey Show." While Oprah may have given Groban the push he needed to reach the top, the album's ascent to #1 has been gradual but steady. The disc debuted at #10 the week after its release, scanning 64,000 copies. Ever since, Noël has been inching its way forward, not once falling out of the chart's top 10; last week, the disc assumed control of the #2 slot with 233,300 copies sold -- the highest single-week sales the LP had achieved before this week's total. The album is also the first Christmas album to top the albums chart since Kenny G's 1994 effort Miracles: The Holiday Album.
But Groban's latest triumph isn't this week's only Billboard-related bit of news. In fact, perhaps more interesting are the sales generated by Jordin Sparks' self-titled debut. Sparks -- the winner of the sixth and most recent season of "American Idol," and who many thought was the most marketable of the show's winners -- probably won't be thrilled when she learns her album has turned out the lowest first-week numbers of a debut issued by any of the show's previous winners. Jordin Sparks enters next week's chart at #10 (the sole new release to crack the top 10) with little more than 119,100 sold.