The results are in, and those early projections were about on target: Whitney Houston’s I Look to You is the No. 1 album on this week’s Billboard 200 chart after selling 305,000 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Like I said last night, that’s not a terrible performance by any means. It’s pretty good! In fact, it’s the best first-week number Whitney has put up since Nielsen SoundScan started tracking sales in 1991. But it’s still not a grand slam, even by 2009 standards. Consider all the fuss that’s been made over Whitney Houston’s comeback: She used to be the type of artist whose first album in seven years would be a major commercial event. Now, it seems, she’s just a respectably successful singer like any other — nothing to be ashamed of, but the numbers don’t lie.

Houston had plenty of company in the chart-debut field this week. Trey Songz’s Ready took No. 3 with 131,000 sold, no doubt occasioning many a pleased emoticon from his keyboard. A troop of 50,000 Juggalos put Insane Clown Posse’s Bang! Pow! Boom! at No. 4. Chevelle, a hard-rock combo whose name sounds more like a hair product to me, landed at No. 6 with 46,000 copies sold of Sci-Fi Crimes. Pitbull capitalized on the success of his single “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho)” by selling 41,000 copies of Rebelution for a No. 8 debut. Down at No. 10, The Used found 35,000 aesthetes to buy Artwork. The Black Crowes’ latest blues-rock jam session, Before the Frost…, made it to No. 12 with 32,000. And Chris Young, who won 2006’s Nashville Star, proved himself a moderate-size Nashville star on the charts by squeaking in at No. 19 with 26,000 sold.

What do you think of this week’s crop of new chart faces? And what do you make of Whitney Houston’s return to commercial earth?

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