Ashanti Holds Off Sheryl Crow

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Newcomer Ashanti is proving a tough act to top. Her self-titled debut album held onto the Number One spot for the third consecutive week, with sales of 190,000, according to SoundScan. The R&B/rap phenom's tally was good enough to best the first-week sales for Sheryl Crow's fourth album, C'mon C'mon, which registered sales of 185,000.

Much of the Top Ten was full of the usual crew, though classical crossover kid, and regular Ally McBeal guest, Josh Groban bounced into the party, seemingly out of nowhere. No small thanks to a 20/20 feature, the baby-faced pop confectionist has seen his self-titled debut fly in from Number 121 to Number Eight in just two weeks. Granted, these days, it only takes 60,000 sales to grab the Number Eight slot, but the kid is topping the likes of Pink and Shakira, whose albums, like Groban's, are five months old.

Elsewhere on the charts it was an out-and-out snoozefest. C'mon C'mon was the only debut in the Top Fifty, with Destiny's Child singer Michelle Williams' gospel record, Heart to Yours the next biggest first week score, at Number Fifty-seven with sales of 17,000. Two albums made strong breaks into the Top 100. Country newcomer Brad Paisley's second album, Part II, which got off to a slow start last year, has perked up and moved from Number 112 last week to Number Sixty-seven with sales of 14,000. And party-monger Andrew W.K.'s debut, I Get Wet hopped from Number 110 to Number Eighty-four with sales of 12,000. Also notable was Phish's new wave of authorized concert bootlegs; six volumes eeked their way into the Top 200.

But you really have to dig for such silver linings. What else can be said for a chart that includes Seventies hitmaker Gordon Lightfoot flitting about at Number 156?

Next week will, if nothing else, offer plenty of new choices. Whether or not they float is another matter. Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot comes with plenty of baggage stuffed with accolades and buzz. And the album might be a good barometer as to whether slumping record sales are due to piracy or crappy music, as the band made the album available to download in its entirety last fall. New releases from Elvis Costello and the Pet Shop Boys should also make ripples within the Top 100. And, morbidly, Layne Staley's death is sure to send Alice in Chains back to the charts.

This week's Top Ten: Ashanti's Ashanti; Sheryl Crow's C'mon C'mon; Celine Dion's New Day Has Come; Now That's What I Call Music! 9; Scorpion King soundtrack; Tweet's Southern Hummingbird; O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack, Josh Groban's Josh Groban; Pink's Missundaztood; and Shakira's Laundry Service.