Usher's "Here I Stand" (LaFace/Zomba) should stand tall at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 next week, as the set tops the Nielsen SoundScan Building chart, released today (May 28).
Unweighted first-day sales for "Stand" from the chart's panel of nine accounts through the close of business yesterday came in at 146,000.
That figure is near the 154,000 that Mariah Carey's "E=MC2" (Island) began with in April. She finished the week with 463,000, though that number was amplified by an aggressive promotional campaign that included stops on "Oprah Winfrey" and "American Idol."
Usher's debut might be more in line with the sales bow that greeted Jack Johnson's "Sleep Through the Static" earlier this year. That Brushfire effort launched a first-day figure of 121,000 on the Building chart and finished the week with 375,000.
Usher's last album, 2004's "Confessions," bowed atop The Billboard 200 with 1.1 million sold in its first week and spent nine weeks in the penthouse. With 9.54 million sold in the U.S., Usher's "Confessions" is the 21st best-selling album of the Nielsen SoundScan era, which began in 1991.
It's the second biggest seller among male solo singers, behind only Garth Brooks' "Ropin' the Wind," which has shifted 9.6 million.
Billboard estimates the merchants who report to Nielsen SoundScan's Building Chart -- Trans World Entertainment, Best Buy, Circuit City, iTunes, Starbucks, Borders, Target, Anderson Merchandisers, and Handleman Co. -- comprise about 80% of all U.S. album sales.