One Direction and Rihanna are neck and neck to top the UK singles countdown this weekend as Muse head for their fourth artist albums chart-topper.
By the end of Tuesday just 246 sales separated Syco act One Direction's Live While We're Young and Def Jam/Mercury's Rihanna with Diamonds, according to Official Charts Company data, with the boy band in front. Last Sunday's chart-topper Gangnam Style by Island's PSY sits third.
The One Direction and Rihanna tarcks have already both topped 50,000 sales in their opening weeks and look like reaching 100,000 units by the time the final chart is published on Sunday. A six-figure first-week total also appears to be on the cards for Muse's new Helium 3/Warner Bros album The 2nd Law, which was already near 70,000 sales up to the close of play on Tuesday. Last Sunday's artist albums No 1, Babel by Gentlemen Of The Road/Island's Mumford & Sons, opened with 158,936 sales, giving it the highest first-week tally of the year for an artist album.
The Mumford album is now down to 2 in the midweeks with sales dropping 66%, while RCA act Pink's The Truth About Love holds at 3, Vertigo/Mercury signings The Killers continue at 4 with Battle Born and Syco act Jonathan & Charlotte's Together remains 5. Higher, the second album by Warner Music Entertainment's Overtones, appears as a new entry at six in the week so far, while Virgin act Emeli Sande's Our Version Of Events continues at 7, Reprise/Warner Bros's Green Day drop 2-8 with Uo, Epic/Phonogenic's The Script slip 6-9 with #3 and Young Turks/XL's The xx are down 8-10 with Coexist.
Outside the Top 10 there are 11 brand new albums registering in the midweek Top 40, lead by Van Morrison's new Blue Note/Parlophone set Born To Sing - No Plan B in 11th position. Ministry of Sound act DJ Fresh's third album Nextlevlism will give him his first ever UK albums chart entry this Sunday as it is currently 12 on Sales Flashes, while Changing Tune, UK rock band Lower Than Atlantis's first album for Island and third overall, is new at 14.
Other acts set to debut in or around the Top 40 on Sunday are EMI Classics' John Wilson Orchestra, Bullet For My Valentine singer Matthew Tuck's new side project Axewound via Search and Destroy/Columbia, Beth Orton with her first album on Anti, Deutsche Grammophon's Tori Amos, ELO with a Sony retrospective, Papa Roach on their Eleven Seven label, Warp's Flying Lotus and Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess on the O Genesis label.
Back on singles and Polydor act Ellie Goulding's brand new track Anything Could Happen should join One Direction and Rihanna's new hits in the top five this weekend. Goulding currently ranks as a new enry at 4, safely ahead of Epic/Phonogenic's The Script with Hall Of Fame featuring will.i.am. This drops 2-5 as Atlantic act Jason Mraz's I Won't GIve Up is heading for a new chart peak. Having originally reached No 13 earlier this year, it now rallies 23-6 on the midweeks after being performed last Saturday by X Factor contestant Ella Henderson.
Fellow Atlantic act Flo Rida's I Cry drops 3-7 and Parlophone's Conor Maynard gains 9-8 with Turn Around featuring Ne-Yo, while Mercury act Taylor Swift falls 4-9 with We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together and the Positiva/Virgin-issued She Wolf (Falling To Pieces) by David Guetta featuring Sia drops 8-10.
Outsider the Top 10, the week's biggest gainers include Mercury act Otto Knows' Million Voices with sales up 30% to move 18-16 and Cash Money/Island's Nicki Minaj whose Va Va Voom progresses 43-20 with sales increasing 623%.
The full midweek singles and albums charts are on musicweek.com.