In the battle of the R&B divas, [artist id="2488038"]Chrisette Michele[/artist] pulled out a squeaker. The Grammy-winning singer's second album, Epiphany, will top next week's Billboard 200 tally with a first-week total of 83,000, helping her best [artist id="1801883"]Ciara[/artist]'s latest, Fantasy Ride, which had to settle for a #3 bow on sales of under 81,000, according to figures provided by Nielsen SoundScan.
Separating the two is the "Hannah Montana" soundtrack, which will hold on to the #2 spot with sales of close to 82,000. The only other debut in the top 10 came from guitar whiz Ben Harper's new band, the Relentless7, whose White Lies for Dark Times comes in at #9 with 34,000 units moved.
The rest of the top 10: Rascal Flatts's Unstoppable (#4, 58,000); Bob Dylan's Together Through Life (#5, 51,000); Lady Gaga's Fame (#6, 41,000); Taylor Swift's Fearless (#7, 41,000); Rick Ross' Deeper Than Rap (#8, 35,000); and the "Twilight" soundtrack (#10, 32,000).
Dayton's Christian metal-core rockers Devil Wears Prada will hit #11 with With Roots Above & Branches Below, their third, which moved close to 31,000 copies. Former "American Idol" finalist Elliot Yamin's second, non-holiday studio album, Fight for Love, lands at #26 on sales of 20,000. In a good sign for Susan Boyle, should she ever release an album, "Britain's Got Talent" winner Paul Potts' debut, Passione, will hit the chart at #33 thanks to more than 16,000 U.S. fans.
Also making chart debuts are the latest from Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst and his Mystic Valley Band, Outer South (#40, 14,000); the second secular comeback album from Yusuf Islam (formerly known as Cat Stevens). Roadsinger (#41, 14,000); the "Star Trek" soundtrack (#49, 12,000); and raunchy rapper Peaches with I Feel Cream (#160, 3,000).
Among the week's biggest drops in sales for major-label acts was Asher Roth's Asleep in the Bread Aisle, which plunged more than 40 percent in its third week, dropping from #14 to #42.
Next week promises chart debuts from Cam'ron, Paul Wall and Green Day, whose 21st Century Breakdown is being officially released on Friday.