Katy Perry Takes on Eminem — Again! — with Fantasia Entering the Ring
It will be a Katy Perry vs. Eminem rematch on next week’s Billboard Top 200 album chart, as her Teenage Dream (released on August 24) and his Recovery vie for No. 1. The pair was last seen duking it out for No. 1 on the Hot 100 — she with Snoop Dogg by her side on “California Gurls,” he escorted by Rihanna on “Love the Way You Lie” — and this time, according to early prognostications, Perry will come out on top. Teenage Dream is expected to move up to 200,000 units, which would be enough to quash Eminem’s hopes for an eighth non-consecutive week at No. 1 — for now.
Color me unsurprised. Currently riding two Top 10 singles, Perry seemed like a lock for No. 1 even before Super Tuesday. In fact, I would have expected her to do better than 200,000 copies during her opening week, and perhaps she’ll ultimately exceed expectations. Whether or not she does, I suspect future hit singles will give Teenage Dream the long-term momentum it needs to go multi-platinum eventually.
Eminem may have to settle for No. 3 next week, because the runner-up spot looks like it might go to Fantasia’s Back to Me, which is expected to sell in the neighborhood of 120,000 to 140,000 copies. The high end would be roughly 30,000 more than recent albums by Christina Aguilera and Miley Cyrus, 55,000 over Sarah McLachlan’s latest, and almost three times what Sheryl Crow just moved in her first week.
Among American Idol winners, Fantasia Barrino falls somewhere in the middle in terms of chart success. Her debut album, 2004′s Free Yourself, sold 240,ooo copies in its first week, en route to nearly double platinum, and 2007′s self-titled follow-up sold 133,ooo on the way to gold, so she has a decent track record. But considering the music industry’s current economic state, which has meant decreased album sales for almost every act across the board, and the fact that the first single, “Bittersweet,” has not yet broken out in a major way, one can surmise that the publicity surrounding Fantasia’s August 9 suicide attempt is spiking sales.
But why exactly did a near tragedy create resurgent interest in her music? Is it that people who normally wouldn’t have been aware of the album’s release now are because she overdosed on aspirin and a sleep aid, and are buying it and downloading it in droves? Or do they feel sorry for her and want to give her something worth living for (as if her 9-year-old daughter shouldn’t have been enough)? Or is the music just that good?
Maybe it’s a little bit of all of the above. That still doesn’t explain what Fantasia was doing discussing her suicide attempt less than two weeks later on an episode of Behind the Music that aired the day of Back to Me‘s release. Did she hop out of the hospital bed and head straight to the VH1 studio to tape her segment, to tell the world, “I didn’t have any fight in me…. I just wanted out”? The singer, who was being dogged by allegations that she was having an affair with a married man, didn’t stop there.
I just sat in the closet and looked at the mirror and took all the pills in the bottle. I wanted to go to sleep and just be at peace. I knew exactly what I was doing. You can’t accidentally take a whole bottle of pills.
Wow. That’s some really intense stuff. It’s refreshing when celebrities are forthcoming about their personal lives, and Fantasia always has come across as nothing if not real. I’ve read speculation on the Internet that the entire thing may have been one big publicity stunt, which is an idea that I find preposterous and unfathomable. But I do wonder why Fantasia is discussing it so soon. With a suicide attempt, the taping of Behind the Music, and the release of a new album coming in such rapid succession, it’s hard not to be a little cynical and concerned. Yes, she has a job to do, which includes fulfilling her promotional duties, but one probably should thoroughly deal with something as serious as a suicide attempt privately before talking about it publicly.
I just hope that along the promotional trail (she also appeared on Good Morning America on August 24), Fantasia and her management team continue to get her the professional help that she needs.
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