First! As predicted, Nicki Minaj coolly takes her throne at No. 1 this week on Billboard's Top 200. Barbs and non-Barbs alike gobbled up 253,000 copies of Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded, which apparently was even better than analysts expected for the record (via Billboard). Granted, they might not have been taking into account the rapper's surprise visit to Times Square this weekend, or her (pretty convincing) appeal to family friendly audiences on Nightline the other night.
2 Through 10: Adele's back, naturally. The singer reclaimed No. 2 with 153,000 sold (yes, still). No. 3 belongs to the ridiculously award-riddled Rascal Flatts and their new album Changed (130,000), while Lionel Richie plays the long game (see our note about Madonna below) with Tuskegee at No. 4 (95,000). One Direction's Up All Night got a boost from their hair's SNL gig (as well as their performance at the Kids' Choice Awards) last Saturday and come in at No. 5 (98,000), while the buzzy Icelandic Of Monsters and Men make an impressive debut (more on that later) at No. 6 with My Head is an Animal (55,000). The Hunger Games soundtrack pulls in at No. 7 (50,000), Madonna's MDNA at No. 8 (48,000 — see below), gospel singer Marvin Sapp's I Win at No. 9 (37,000), and Shinedown's Amaryllis at No. 10 (36,000).
Queen of Pop, Seriously Dethroned: She may have given Nicki a solid boost on the MC's way to No. 1 this week, but Madonna, whose MDNA blew away Lionel Richie by more than 50 percent as well as topped Minaj's debut sales this week by more than 100,000 in its debut as last week's No. 1, suffers a massive blow. The Queen's album lost 86.7 percent over last week's 359,000 copies, only pulling in a shockingly low 48,000 this week (for reference, as mentioned above and below, Of Monsters and Men, an up-and-coming act, raked in 7,000 more copies for their debut album). The slide breaks the record for the steepest drop Soundscan has recorded since it started tracking sales in 1991 (previously, Lady Gaga's Born This Way held the unfortunate title, falling 84.3 percent.)
Out from Under the Bed: Don't expect that high debut for Of Monsters and Men to be the last you hear of the band. With an Arcade Fire-meets-Head and the Heart-meets-Mumford and Sons vibe, the Icelandic six-piece have extreme folk crossover potential, especially since they now have the major-label muscle of Universal Republic (Florence + the Machine, Gotye, James Blake) behind them.