Despite now having a proper week's worth of sales under their belts, Destiny's Child and Lil Jon can't unseat Eminem from the top of the Billboard albums chart.
Even combined, weekly sales of Destiny's Child's Destiny Fulfilled and Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz's Crunk Juice aren't enough to best the second-week total of Slim Shady's Encore. Following an abbreviated, three-day first sales week -- due to Encore's Friday release, as opposed to the traditional Tuesday (see [article id="1493813"]"Eminem Shreds The Competition, Even With A Premature Encore"[/article]) -- Eminem's fourth album sold more than 870,000 copies during its second week in stores, making for a 10-day total of 1.5 million copies, according to SoundScan.
Like Encore, Eminem's last album, 2002's The Eminem Show, also surfaced online prior to its release date and was rushed into stores a day early. After one-day sales of more than 284,000, The Eminem Show moved a whopping 1.3 million copies in its second week. Still, Eminem's second-week showing ranks as the third-best sales week of the year, behind the opening tallies for Usher's Confessions and Norah Jones' Feels Like Home.
Release-date violations (the term for retailers selling an album prior to its official on-sale date) only slightly cannibalized first-week sales of Destiny Fulfilled and Crunk Juice, though the few copies that were sold early wouldn't have affected the chart position of either album next week. After selling more than 61,000 copies before its release date, Destiny Child's fourth album moved over 496,000 copies to take the #2 spot. Even collectively, the sales of Destiny Fulfilled can't touch the more than 600,000 copies 2001's Survivor sold in its opening week.
Meanwhile, Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz are chugging down the success of Crunk Juice. The rowdy Atlanta group's latest LP will land at #3 after selling more than 363,000 copies.
The other album affected by retailers who jumped the gun last week, Chingy's Powerballin', will bring up the rear of the top 10, after selling more than 119,000 copies.
"American Idol" runner-up Clay Aiken's holiday album, Merry Christmas With Love, will take the #4 spot, after unloading more than 270,000 copies of his second LP.
Thanks to the smoking single "Drop It Like It's Hot," Snoop Dogg returns to his old form with R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece The LP sold more than 225,000 copies to land a #6 debut. His last album to do better was 2000's The Last Meal, which moved nearly 400,000 copies in its first week.
The remainder of next week's top 10 includes Shania Twain's Greatest Hits, moving from #2 to #5 (with more than 232,000 copies sold); Toby Keith's Greatest Hits 2, which will slip four spots to #7 (220,000); Now That's What I Call Music! 17 falling three places to #8 (189,000); and Usher's Confessions, which drops a spot to #9 (129,000) but increases weekly sales by 20 percent.
The first ever best-of set from grunge icons Pearl Jam, Rearviewmirror (Greatest Hits 1991-2003), is next week's chart's only other top 20 debut. The two-disc, 33-track collection will place at #16.
Other notable debuts on next week's chart include Neil Young's Greatest Hits at #27; the Beatles' Vol. 1 - Capitol Albums at #35; the pro-wrestling compilation Themeaddict: WWE The Music Volume 6 at #38; Bon Jovi's 100 Million Bon Jovi Fans Can't Be Wrong at #53; A Perfect Circle's DVD/CD Amotion at #57; Rammstein's Reise Reise at #61; Collective Soul's Youth at #66; the "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason" soundtrack at #72; Rufus Wainwright's Want Two at #103; The Best of Mandy Moore at #148; Michael Jackson's Ultimate Collection at #154; and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's Greatest Hits at #187.
At the risk of sounding like an old crank, each year the holidays seem to arrive ever earlier. While just a few holiday-themed albums surfaced a few weeks ago, next week's chart features no less than a dozen of them, some as peculiar as Larry the Cable Guy's redneck comedy album Very Larry Christmas (#43), the Care Bears' Holiday Hugs (#135) and Radio Disney Jingle Jams (#138).
And the albums that did come out long before Santa Claus even thought about hauling his suit out of the basement are among next week's most improved. Mannheim Steamroller's Christmas Celebration will jump up 38 spots to #19, thanks to a 199 percent sales increase; and Trans-Siberian Orchestra's Lost Christmas Eve will leap 29 spots to #33, thanks to an 85 percent boost in sales.
An even surer sign that mistletoe and menorahs are on the horizon is the presence of greatest-hits collections. Of those, there are 21 on next week's chart, including everything from legendary crooners like Dean Martin (#121) to collections where the term "hits" is met with some curiosity, such as Mandy Moore's (#148) and Juvenile's (#168).
On The Move
Besides the great gains made by the holiday albums noted above, the top 40's best forward progress was made by Maroon 5. With a new single, "Sunday Morning," the band's Songs About Jane will rise eight spots to #26, with a 51 percent sales increase.
On the flip side, it's Fabolous' Real Talk that's sinking faster than a mobster in concrete shoes. A 66 percent slash in sales, from more than 197,000 copies to more than 61,000, brings Fab's album down to #23 after last week's #6 debut.