She tugged at the nation's heartstrings on "American Idol," and now Kelly Clarkson is holding the pop-buying public by their purse strings with the best-selling album on next week's Billboard albums chart.
Fueled by the hit single "A Moment Like This," Thankful, Clarkson's debut LP, will bow at #1 with more than 297,000 copies sold, according to SoundScan figures released Wednesday. The album title is an understatement. The first-season "American Idol" winner and all those in her camp have got to be more than grateful that the nearly 300,000 copies sold were able to stave off this year's chart champion, 50 Cent.
(See our feature, "Kelly Clarkson: Crowd Surfing Anti-Diva," for more on the American idol.)
The rapper's New Breed CD/DVD hybrid fell shy of the talent-pageant princess' album by more than 50,000 copies. The disc, featuring three previously unreleased 50 tracks, a live performance in Detroit, videos, and a big-house interview with the incarcerated Tony Yayo, sold more than 246,000 copies to place in the #2 spot.
The Queens, New York, rapper's debut album, Get Rich Or Die Tryin', will drop two spots to #5, selling more than 206,000 copies. Despite the dip to the album's lowest chart position in its 11-week run, 50 has the distinction of being the only artist in the last decade to place two albums in the top 5 in the same week.
He's not the only artist to pull off such a feat since SoundScan began clocking record sales in 1991, however. Garth Brooks had a pair of top 5'ers in 1992, with his Christmas album Beyond the Season and The Chase. A year before, both Bruce Springsteen and Guns N' Roses did it: the Boss with Human Touch and Lucky Town, and GN'R with both volumes of Use Your Illusion. (Asterisk alert: While the Springsteen and GN'R LPs were released simultaneously, that's not the case for Garth Brooks and 50 Cent, the true kings of the top 5.)
Fleetwood Mac's first new studio album in eight years, Say You Will, will claim the #3 spot with more than 217,000 copies sold in its opening week; while country singer Darryl Worley's third album, Have You Forgotten? — whose war-effort-inspired title is at once sympathetic and rallying — will bow in at #4, with more than 213,000 copies sold.
Parrotheads nationwide showed their support for their big kahuna Jimmy Buffett by scooping up his greatest-hits collection, Meet Me in Margaritaville, which also includes 11 previously-unreleased tracks, en mass. More than 127,000 copies of the two-disc set flew off shelves in its first week, with more than a month to prepare for that Memorial Day bash, too.
The record industry had a good week overall. All the albums in next week's top 10 increased their weekly sales from the week prior (it helps when half of them are chart debuts), and the total weekly sales of all top 200 albums was more than 6 million, a significant jump from the 4.3 million cumulative total the week before.
The remainder of the top 10 will include Linkin Park's Meteora, dropping four spots to #6 (192,000); Now That's What I Call Music! Vol. 12, sinking three spots to #7 (192,000); Norah Jones' Come Away With Me, down a notch to #8 (142,000); and The Very Best of Cher at #10 (121,000).
Pete Yorn will have the only other top 20 chart debut with his second album, Day I Forgot, at #18.
After their voluntary fall from Christian retail outlets, Evanescence finally fell out of the top 10, down from #10 to #12. The descent comes seven weeks after Fallen first dropped last month. Nevertheless, the album sold 23,000 more copies than the week before, to accumulate for a total of more than 670,000 copies.
Godsmack's Faceless will vacate the top slot it held last week to drop down to #13.
Other notable chart debuts include country crossover Jessica Andrews' Now at #34; jam band Widespread Panic's Ball at #61; reggae royalty Ziggy Marley's Dragonfly at #138; and soul crooner/son of actor Alan, Thicke's Beautiful World at #152.