William Hung Makes Top-40 Debut, Usher Holds Onto #1

Atrocious 'Idol' singer moves nearly 38,000 copies of his debut.

Fifty million Elvis fans can’t be wrong, as the King’s 1959 greatest-hits album professes, but most people probably wouldn’t say the same about the nearly 38,000 folks who nabbed a copy of William Hung’s debut album last week.

His inability to at least sing in the general direction of the right key didn’t stop the atrocious “American Idol” contestant from bowing into next week’s Billboard albums chart at #34 with his album, Inspiration, according to SoundScan figures. It’s hard to believe that somewhere right now, thousands of people could be crooning along to Hung-sung favorites like R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly,” the Eagles’ “Hotel California,” Elton John’s “Rocket Man” and the tune he premiered at his infamous audition, Ricky Martin’s “She Bangs” (see “William Hung’s Sales Figures Are Nothing To Laugh At” ).

Inspiration is one of only four new albums to debut in next week’s top 40. R&B singer Tamia will be the top debut; her third album, More, will come in at #17. It’s followed two steps back by Good News for People Who Love Bad News, Modest Mouse’s highest-charting album of their 11-year-career. Thanks to a mainstream embrace of the single, “Float On,” the Northwest quartet’s follow-up to 2000’s The Moon & Antarctica sold more than 68,000 copies in its first week.

Without many new releases to threaten Usher’s reign at the top — a double live Barry Manilow album rounds out the top-40 debuts at #27 — his Confessions will hold the #1 slot. With more than 462,000 copies sold last week, the weekly total of Usher’s fourth album were just slightly less than they were the week before, to afford him a grand total that exceeds 2 million copies.

Now That’s What I Call Music! Vol. 15 will move up one notch to #2 (with more than 277,000 copies sold); while Janet Jackson’s Damita Jo will take a step back to #3 (147,000).

With an uncanny ability to spin just about any hype in her favor, Jessica Simpson will rise up eight places to #4 with In This Skin. In the week leading up to the premiere of ABC’s “The Nick & Jessica Variety Hour,” sales of her third album were up 23 percent from the previous week, to cap off at 113,000 copies.

Norah Jones’ Feels Like Home will advance three places to #5 (107,000), Evanescence’s Fallen will step up five spots to #6 (105,000) and Kenny Chesney’s When the Sun Goes Down will move up five spots to #7 (97,000). Meanwhile, Lil’ Flip’s U Gotta Feel Me will fall four places to #8 (95,000), Guns N’ Roses’ Greatest Hits will hold at #9 (89,000) and J-Kwon’s Hood Hop will slip three notches to #10 (80,000) to round out next week’s top 10.

All the memorials and retrospectives surrounding the 10th anniversary of the death of Kurt Cobain helped spur sales of Nirvana’s self-titled greatest-hits LP. The album, released in October 2002, will re-enter the top 200 at #117, by selling more than twice the number of copies it did the previous week. An Elton John-themed week of “American Idol” helped Sir Elton’s Greatest Hits 1970-2002 do the same, to come in at #118.

Other notable releases on next week’s chart include the Dilated Peoples’ Neighborhood Watch at #55; Insane Clown Posse offshoot Dark Lotus’ Black Rain at #71; Ben Kweller’s second album, On My Way, at #83; and In Flames’ Soundtrack to Your Escape at #145.