The media hoopla surrounding R. Kelly and his string of child pornography charges were seemingly ignored by his fans, who bought enough copies of Chocolate Factory to knock 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' from the top of the Billboard albums chart.
Kelly's new album sold more than 532,000 copies in its first week, just 11,000 fewer than the amount he moved in his most successful opening week, when TP-2.com dropped in November 2000.
Although it will vacate the top slot it held for two consecutive weeks, 50 Cent's studio debut is no slouch. Get Rich or Die Tryin' was shy of Kelly's album by just 12,000 copies. Since its release, the album has consistently sold more than 500,000 per week. The last time an album had such a stretch was in late 2000, when both the Backstreet Boys' Black & Blue and the Beatles' 1 each sold half a million copies for three weeks straight.
Get Rich or Die Tryin', in just three weeks, has sold 2 million copies.
Norah Jones' Come Away With Me will retain its #3 spot, selling more than 144,000 copies in the week capped off by the 45th annual Grammy Awards. Jones' weekly draw is likely to increase dramatically, given her five wins (eight overall for the Jones camp). The Dixie Chicks, whose Home will drop two notches to #4 (126,000) next week, will also probably see a sales increase this week, since they left New York's Madison Square Garden with three Grammys Sunday night (see "Norah Jones Sweeps Grammys, Boss Wins Three, Avril Shut Out").
The DMX-studded soundtrack to "Cradle 2 the Grave," a film in which he stars alongside kung fu champ Jet Li, will be the second-highest chart debut, at #6. The LP, which also features contributions by Eminem, 50 Cent, the Clipse and Fat Joe, sold more than 97,000 copies.
Thanks to the Ben Affleck flick "Daredevil" being tops at the box office for two weeks running, the film's soundtrack will jump up six spots to #9.
Next week's top 10 also finds Kid Rock's Cocky dropping a spot to #5; Avril Lavigne's Let Go slipping one place to #7; the soundtrack to "Chicago" moving down three spots to #8; and the Grammy Nominees 2003 compilation climbing up six spots to #10.
Among the top 20, T.A.T.U.'s 200 KM/H in the Wrong Lane and Sean Paul's Dutty Rock made tremendous strides. The teen-pop duo's debut launched forward 23 spots to #13, as U.S. radio stations catch up with their U.K. counterparts and put "All the Things She Said" into heavy rotation. Meanwhile, the dancehall DJ's second album, Dutty Rock, propelled by momentum-mounting single "Get Busy," will move from #39 to #14.
Next week's notable chart debuts include indie chanteuse Cat Power's sixth album,You Are Free, at #105; alt folkie Dar Williams' The Beauty of the Rain at #120; Styx's Cyclorama at #127; and Ministry's Animositisomina at #157.