Eminem's fourth album, Encore, sold a massive 871,000 copies this week, putting his sales total after just ten days on the racks at more than 1.5 million. In a week of huge sales figures, blockbuster debuts from Destiny's Child and Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz simply could not compete with Slim Shady, coming in at Number Two (497,000) and Number Three (363,000), respectively.
Other big sellers this week were American Idol runner-up Clay Aiken's holiday album, Merry Christmas With Love, which debuted at Number Four (270,000), ringing in the holiday record crush. Hits compilations from country stars Shania Twain and Toby Keith both continued their strong performances: although bumped three places to Number Five, Twain's Greatest Hits sold 232,000; and Keith's Greatest Hits 2, down four to Seven, still moved 221,000 units in its second week.
Snoop Dogg's R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece, hit the charts at Number Six (225,000) -- a stronger showing than 2002's Grammy-nominated Paid tha Cost to Be da Boss, which opened at Number Twelve (174,000). And super-hyped St. Louis rapper Chingy managed to crack the Top Ten with his sophomore record Powerballin' (Number Ten) -- ironically selling fewer copies (120,000) than his debut Jackpot, which opened in the Top Twenty with 157,000 units.
Losers this week include pop starlet Britney Spears, whose best-of compilation Greatest Hits: My Prerogative has already slipped out of the Top Ten, falling from its Number-Four debut to Twelve (101,000). And Queens rapper Ja Rule's hopes of turning his career around are fading, as R.U.L.E. plummets thirteen spots from its Number-Seven debut to Twenty (66,000). Meanwhile, rapper Fabolous' Real Talk has taken the same path, plunging from Six to Twenty-Three (62,000) in only its second week.
Next week expect the real challenge to Eminem's reign to come in the form of mega-band U2, whose much-anticipated How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb was released yesterday after a series of high-profile promotional stunts via Apple and MTV. No Doubt frontwoman Gwen Stefani's solo debut, Love, Angel, Music, Baby, will also open big. And don't underestimate the loyalty of Nirvana fans, as the grunge legends' long-delayed, three-disc box set of rarities, With the Lights Out, hits stores.
This week's Top Ten: Eminem's Encore; Destiny's Child's Destiny Fulfilled; Lil Jon and the East Side Boyz' Crunk Juice; Clay Aiken's Merry Christmas With Love; Shania Twain's Greatest Hits; Snoop Dogg's R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece; Toby Keith's Greatest Hits 2; Now That's What I Call Music! 17; Usher's Confessions; Chingy's Powerballin'.