It's a fierce chart battle this week in the albums chart between pop princess Cheryl Cole and pop prince Justin Bieber. As both are vying to claim the coveted number one position, a surprise fly in their ointment has appeared in the shape of the soundtrack to the movie version of Rock Of Ages. Although compilation albums are excluded from the main album chart so the battle's final outcome will not be affected, the soundtrack's success will be a bit of an ego-bruiser for the poplets.
Cheryl's previous two albums 3 Words and Messy Little Raindrops both debuted at the top, as has the first single from each of her three album releases. The trailer single for current album A Million Lights, Call My Name, entered at number one on the singles chart last week, so the double hatrick would truly cement the Girls Aloud singer's solo artist status. Justin has never reached the topspot on either the UK albums or singles charts, with his most recent single Boyfriend peaking at number two. His current album Believe looks set to debut at the top in numerous countries around the globe this week and the UK is clearly a coveted target. His previous album Under The Mistletoe, a Christmas collection, topped the US Billboard chart but peaked at number 13 in the UK. His first album My World and its linked follow-up My World 2.0 peaked at numbers 4 and 3 respectively in the UK.
A Million Lights started the week with double the presales of Believe, suggesting that Cole would snatch the number one position. The midweek chart figures released on Tuesday however which also incorporated physical sales and other online retailers showed Cole 3000 copies behind Bieber's set. Early on Friday Cole had snatched the itunes topspot back from Bieber who had sat there for the previous three days, but an emerging itunes threat had slowly been making its way up the chart. The movie adaptation of the hit Broadway show Rock Of Ages, which also opened in the West End earlier this year, opened in UK cinemas last Friday. With a high profile cast including Tom Cruise, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Russell Brand and Mary J. Blige and a heavy marketing campaign, the film has enjoyed strong word of mouth this week resulting in the soundtrack album slowly creeping up the charts. Earlier in the week it had been holding steady in the number three slot on itunes, but late on Friday it leapfrogged the two popstars trying to battle it out and reached the summit, where it still sits today.
Compilation albums have a separate chart to artist releases, but considering the big Cole vs Bieber build up it is impressive how much the Rock Of Ages collection has captured the nation. The film musical, set in the 1980s to a soundtrack of classic rock anthems, features such treats as Cruise's take on Poison's Pour Some Sugar On Me and Guns 'n' Roses' Paradise City, Zeta-Jones' cover of Pat Benetar's Hit Me With Your Best Shot and Cruise, Brand and Blige teaming up with Alec Baldwin on Journey's Don't Stop Believin'. The film's success has also had a knock on effect on sales for the West End stageshow which features Pop Idol winner Shayne Ward and tv host Justin Lee Collins. The show is currently booking at the Shaftesbury Theatre until 17th February.
We're staying neutral as to who we want to take the album chart crown (Cheryl! ;-D), but as Theatrelovers we are proud of the Rock Of Ages collection's achievement. It's a great show - we're still believin'!
Book tickets for Rock Of Ages at the Shaftesbury Theatre here