Rihanna is heading for her fourth UK chart-topping album with Unapologetic as Olly Murs looks to complete a quartet of No 1 singles.
The Barbadian's newly-issued Def Jam/Mercury set currently has a lead of more than 20,000 units with Led Zeppelin's Celebration Day in second place, according to the Official Charts Company.
Unapologetic now looks on course to emulate Good Girl Gone Bad, Loud and Talk That Talk by reaching No 1, while Celebration Day will give Led Zeppelin their third Top 10 album this century. The Atlantic/Rhino/Swansong set, which captures their 2007 reunion performance at London's O2 arena, follows 2003 live set How The West Was Won, which reached No 5, and 2007 retrospective Mothership, which peaked at 4.
However, outselling Rihanna by more than two copies to one is EMI TV/UMTV compilation Now 83, which since its release this week has so far shifted nearly 128,000 copies. It is the first album released in the series since Universal's takeover deal with EMI was completed.
Like Rihanna, Olly Murs is also seeking out a fourth UK chart-topper but his quest is in the singles market where the newly-released Epic title Troublemaker featuring Flo Rida presently has a lead of nearly 30,000 units over Girls Aloud's comeback Polydor single Something New. Syco act One Direction's Little Things is at 3, having debuted at 1 last Sunday.
Murs' midweek chart success follows him performing Troublemaker on last Sunday's X Factor results show, the same programme on which RCA's Alicia Keys performed Girl On Fire. That track is also benefiting from the exposure, showing up as a new entry at 4 on Sales Flashes and looking set to become Key's seventh UK Top 10 single.
Featured on The X Factor the week before, Little Mix's debut album DNA lines up as a new entry at 4 on the midweek artist albums chart and is one of six new releases among the Top 10 sellers at this stage of the week. Showing up at 5 is Susan Boyle's fourth album Standing Ovation - The Greatest Songs, while an expanded version of Michael Buble's 2011 Reprise/Warner Bros set Christmas is at 6 and Ministry of Sound act Example's The Evolution Of Man is at 7.
With new arrivals from Little Mix and Susan Boyle plus One Direction's Take Me Home dropping 1-3, Syco currenty has three of the week's five biggest artist sellers. Below the trio, Rod Stewart's Verve/Decca debut Merry Christmas Baby falls 2-8 as the Decca-issued Magic Of The Movies by Andre Rieu and the Johann Strauss Orchestra slips 4-9 and Robbie Williams' Island set Take The Crown drops 5-10.
Outside the Top 10, AC/DC's Columbia release Live At River Plate shows up as a new entry at 14 and is among a crop of singles and album midweek entries by the legendary band (see separate story) after their catalogue was finally made available this week on iTunes. Other new arrivals include a new RCA-handled Whitney Houston retrospective, I Will Always Love You - The Best Of.
Behind Olly Murs, Girls Aloud, One Direction and Alicia Keys on singles, Syco act Labrinth's Beneath Your Beautiful featuring Emeli Sande is demonstrating real staying power as it climbs 5-4 on midweeks. Below it, Parlophone act Gabrielle Aplin's The Power Of Love falls 5-6, PSY's Gangnam Style holds at 7 and fellow Island release Candy by Robbie Williams declines 6-8. Little Mix's Syco single DNA is down 3-9 at this stage of the week, while Atlantic act Bruno Mars' Locked Out Of Heaven makes a rapid fall to 10 having debuted at 2 last Sunday.
Following up the chart-topping Feel The Love, Rudimental's Asylum-issued Not Giving in featuring John Newman and Alex Clare registers as a new entry at 11, while Atlantic act Christina Perri's A Thousand Years climbs 19-14 with sales up 156% on the week. Its uplift is no doubt helped by its exposure in the film Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1.
The full midweek singles and albums charts are available on musicweek.com.