Swift Victory — Country Star Beats Jackson & Boyle

Country ingénue moves up to number 1 as the King of Pop’s posthumous “Michael” album falls short,

Taylor Swift got a belated birthday present and an early Christmas gift Wednesday as the country Princess foiled the King of Pop’s posthumous lunge for number 1.

Swift, who turned 21 on Dec. 13, not only blocked Michael Jackson’s “Michael,” which came out on Dec. 14, from the album top slot but she pulled ahead of Susan Boyle’s Christmas collection to reclaim the album throne.

Swift has been number 1 twice before with her “Speak Now” album since it came out on Oct. 25.

According to Nielsen SoundScan figures released on Dec. 22, “Speak Now” sold 259,000 copies in the week leading up to Dec. 19. That’s 5,000 more copies than Boyle’s “The Gift,” which was the number one album for most of the last month, and it’s 31,000 more than the 228,000 “Michael” sold stateside.

The 10-track “Michael,” a collection of unreleased and partially finished tunes from the Jackson vaults, is the first album in the $250 million 10-album deal the late singer’s estate negotiated with Sony Music in late 2009. The album has been a point of controversy, with even some members of the Jackson family contesting if it is their relative’s voice on some tracks, and criticism.

Adding insult to injury, “Michael” fell far short of the 373,000 copies the “This Is It” soundtrack sold after it was released on Oct. 27, 2009, a bit more than four months after Jackson died on June 25. If “Michael” had hit number #1, it would have been the seventh MJ album to do so.

But, as Taylor Swift proved without breaking a sweat, that was just not to be this Christmas for MJ.