Update (11/14): It's official. Billboard reports that Stewart's Merry Christmas, Baby is, indeed, number 3 this week with official sales of 74,000. He is followed by Ne-Yo (66,000) and Aerosmith at 5 (63,000). For comparison, their last album of original studio music, Just Push Play (2001), opened at number 2 and with 240,000 in sales.
It is a very close race, but sales prognosticators Hits Daily Double has Rod Stewart's holiday album, Merry Christmas, Baby, selling another 69,500 copies in its second week (down only 27% from week one) to land at number 3.
The fact is, though, that it is a very tight race for spots three through five on this week's chart. Taylor Swift will hold at number 1 again with Red (estimated 195,000 copies sold in week 3) and Now That's What I Call Music 44 will be second with about 99,000, but the next three have estimated sales (called "power index") between 65,000 and 69,500.
Stewart is currently showing in third with the higher number while Ne-Yo's new R.E.D. is fourth at 66,300. Aerosmith's Music From Another Dimension then comes in fifth with an estimated 65,000 in sales.
If Aerosmith starts at 5, it will equal their last album, 2004's Honkin' on Bobo, but you would have to go back 1989 for the last time an all original studio album by the group fared that badly when Pump only made it to 5. Since then, Get a Grip (1993) and Nine Lives (1997) topped the chart and Just Push Play (2001) got to number 2.
Where this all ends won't be announced until Thursday when Billboard issues its weekly charts.