Susan Boyle Crushes the Competition

New albums from Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Adam Lambert, Shakira, and Birdman were all released last week, but they were no competition for Susan Boyle.

The debut album from the former “Britain’s Got Talent” contestant easily grabbed the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 with 701,000 copies sold in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The number gives her the best sales week for an album in the U.S. this year, besting Eminem’s Relapse, which moved 608,000 units in its opening week.

Boyle smashes more than one record. Her album I Dreamed a Dream also marks the best first week for a female artist’s debut since SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991. Ashanti, whose self-titled debut sold 503,000 copies in 2002, previously held the title.

Rihanna scores her best sales week yet with her fourth album Rated R, which opens at No. 4 with 181,000. Her previous effort, 2007’s Good Girl Gone Bad, entered at No. 2 with 162,000.

Lady Gaga unleashes her eight-song EP The Fame Monster at No. 5 with 174,000, while her first album The Fame moves from No. 34 to No. 6 (151,000) based on combined sales of her debut and deluxe packaging of The Fame Monster.

Elsewhere, “American Idol” runner-up Adam Lambert’s debut For Your Entertainment arrives at No. 3 (198,000), Shakira’s She Wolf crawls to No. 15 (89,000), Birdman’s Pricele$$ cashes in at No. 29 (36,000), and his Cash Money cohort Jay Sean lands stateside at No. 33 (31,000) with All or Nothing.