Kelly Clarkson Tops Charts

"American Idol" winner bests Fleetwood Mac reunion

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The intention of American Idol was to create a star out of a wannabe, and it did just that. Thankful, the debut album by the first season's winner, Kelly Clarkson, sold 297,000 copies in its first week for a Number One debut.

The top of the charts is full of debuts, as Clarkson edged out 50 Cent's The New Breed, the rapper's DVD/CD-single package, which moved 246,000 copies to come in at Number Two. Fleetwood Mac's Say You Will, the band's first new album of all new material by Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks in fifteen years, sold a hearty 217,000 copies at Number Three. It just edged Darryl Worley's Have You Forgotten, a new compilation of previously released material plus the flag-draped title track, which sold 214,000 copies at Number Four. And Jimmy Buffett posted a strong Number Nine bow with his new compilation, Meet Me in Margaritaville, which sold 127,000.

While the rash of newcomers displaced more than a handful of former Top Ten entries, the Easter holiday injected the industry with increasing sales across the board. Though 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin' (Number Five, 206,000 copies sold), Linkin Park's Meteora (Number Seven, 192,000) and Norah Jones' Come Away With Me (Number Eight, 143,000) all slid down the charts, they all posted sales increases from the previous week. In fact, only eleven albums in the Top Fifty failed to post sales jumps from the previous week.And then there were even more debuts: Pete Yorn's Day I Forgot is off to a quicker start than his slow-but-steady debut. The singer-songwriter's second release sold 73,000 copies at Number Eighteen. Other solid numbers were put up by Jessica Andrews' Now (Number Thirty-four, 42,000 copies sold) and Widespread Panic's Ball (Number Sixty-one, 24,000).

Despite this week's high sales, no album reached 300,000, which means, Madonna's American Life should conquer next week's chart.

This week's Top Ten: Kelly Clarkson's Thankful; 50 Cent's The New Breed; Fleetwood Mac's Say You Will; Darryl Worley's Have You Forgotten; 50 Cent's Get Rich or Die Tryin'; Linkin Park's Meteora; Now That's What I Call Music! 12; Norah Jones' Come Away With Me; Jimmy Buffett's Meet Me in Margaritaville; and Cher's The Very Best of Cher.