Answers to readers' questions about Christina Aguilera, Spears v. Federline, Ricky Martin and more!

Dear readers: We're doubling up on 'Ask Billboard' this week. Our newest three questions are followed by last week's three questions (which were posted belatedly on Jan. 18 due to a logistical error)


MARTIN V. MIGUEL

Keith,

Ricky Martin's "MTV Unplugged" and Luis Miguel's "Navidades" were released mid-November 2006. There has always been a rivalry between the two -- how did each do by end of the holiday season?

Also, has Ricky Martin renewed his contract with Sony?

Thanks,

Nina Ocampo
Chicago


Hi Nina,

So far, Ricky Martin's "MTV Unplugged" has sold 116,000 in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan, while Luis Miguel's "Navidades" has moved 115,000. Because the latter is a Christmas album, it will likely stop selling much of anything in the coming weeks, while Martin's album will continue to sell.

Martin has yet to complete his record contract with Sony.



EX-WIVES V. EX-HUSBANDS

Keith,

Kevin Federline released his album, "Playing With Fire," in Oct. 2006 while Britney Spears had no new releases in 2006.

I was wondering if any of Spears' albums outsold Ferderline's over the whole year, even though his was a new release...

Also, Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson both released new albums in 2006.

Nick's almost doubled Jessica's sales in the first week. Did he end up coming out on top in the year-end tally?

Steven Gales
Kalamazoo, Mich.


Hi Steven,

In 2006, Britney Spears' albums sold 461,000. That figure includes four studio albums, a greatest hits, a remix album and her "Chaotic" CD/DVD.

Kevin Federline's "Playing With Fire" has sold 16,000 so far.

Switching gears: Nick Lachey is the winner in the Nick v. Jessica battle.

His "What's Left Of Me" album sold 587,000 in 2006 while Jessica Simpson's "A Public Affair" sold a relatively dismal 279,000 last year. The latter album only spent nine weeks on the chart.



DID POP POP?

Hi,

I'm addicted to your column and I need a fix.

I have a question regarding Christina Aguilera's latest effort "Back to Basics." I just can't figure out why such an excellent album isn't doing as well as it could on the charts.

Could you tell me how it has sold compared to the chanteuse's other efforts? Is there any possibility for this album to bounce back into the top 20 of The Billboard 200?

I also noticed that a lot of the "pop" albums released in 2006 (I'm thinking Jessica Simpson, Gwen Stefani, Christina) didn't achieve expectations. Is pop's popularity fading? Could Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey or even Celine Dion bring back pop music?

Can't wait for your answer.

Jordan B.
Montreal


Hi Jordan,

Well, Christina Aguilera's album "Back To Basics" is doing pretty darn good.

It has sold 1.3 million copies,­ really quite great for a double album.

Sure, it's not in the top 10 anymore (it was No. 45 last week), but her last single, "Hurt," faltered at No. 19 on The Billboard Hot 100. If, say, "Hurt" had been a top 10 hit, then perhaps "Basics" would still be riding high on the charts.

It's true that Simpson's album tanked. It's too early to tell about Stefani's "The Sweet Escape." In six weeks it has sold 737,000. Considering the highly odd choice of its first single ("Wind It Up"), that's pretty good. Now she is gaining traction with its second single, the title track (which features Akon).

Who knows what Whitney Houston's album will sound like, when and if it surfaces. It's safe to say that with all the good will that Mariah Carey has built up, her next album could sell great. If she's got another "We Belong Together" hidden away, who knows what she could sell.

Celine Dion is fairly irrelevant when it comes to top 40 radio airplay right now. She hasn't had a top 10 hit on the Hot 100 since 2000, so I wouldn't wager a bet on if Dion will help usher in a renaissance for pop music.

You should look to younger, developing artists for signs that pop is coming back. Everyone from Katharine McPhee, Ashley Tisdale and Corbin Bleu will be releasing albums soon­ and all could do well.



BUBLE'S 'TIME'

Hi Keith,

I noticed that Michael Buble's album "It's Time" has now spent 100 weeks on the Billboard Jazz Albums chart. According to my calculations, 76 of those weeks have been at No. 1. Can you please tell me if either of these numbers (100 weeks or 76 weeks) are nearing a record for the Jazz Albums chart?

Many thanks,

Mark Alwyn


Hi Mark,

While this question is more suited for Fred Bronson's Chart Beat column, I'll go ahead and answer it.

Michael Buble's amazing 76 weeks at No. 1 on the Top Jazz Albums chart with "It's Time" is indeed a record. No other album has spent more time at No. 1.

However, he still has a ways to go before he reaches the record for the most weeks spent on the chart itself. At 100 weeks, "It's Time" is still shy of a number of albums, including Harry Connick, Jr.'s "25" and Tony Bennett's "Unplugged."

Do note that once an album turns two years old, it moves to catalog status and is removed from our currents charts. That means, "It's Time" is about to retired and move to our Top Jazz Catalog Albums chart. However, we have a rule stating that if an album, after it's two year anniversary, is still charting in the top 100 of The Billboard 200, it can remain current on our charts. This week, "It's Time" was ranked at No. 92 on The Billboard 200.



'SHE' 'OBVIOUS'LY 'TORN'

Keith,

My question is about LeToya. She has had success with her album and her hit single "Torn" on the R&B/Hip-Hop charts mostly. Her second single, "She Don't," did not fare that well on the charts, but I heard that she is releasing a third single, "Obvious." Is that true? If she is, has it been released already or has a video been shot?

Also, I would like to know how many copies she sold since her album has been certified platinum.

Theo Wilson
Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Hi Theo,

"Obvious" is indeed the third single from LeToya's self-titled album. Right now it's on the Bubbling Under Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart at No. 8. It's been on the chart for six weeks now, so it's unclear if it will eventually graduate to the main Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.

Her publicist at Capitol Records told me that there is no music video for "Obvious" planned. So, it seems like the single will have to find success without a video clip to support it.

LeToya has already scored two top 20 R&B/Hip-Hop Songs hits:¬ "Torn" (No. 2) and "She Don't" (No. 17). On The Billboard Hot 100, "Torn" topped out at No. 31.

The album debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 last year (and also hit No. 1 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums) and has sold 503,000 copies to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan.



WE CAN'T ALL BE PRINCESSES

Dear Keith,

First off, I have to say I love your column. You seem to have the same musical tastes as I do and it is refreshing to see a bona fide music critic who is not afraid to admit their love of things such as Paris Hilton's CD or catchy Europop.

With that being said, I was rather annoyed at your reader who claimed to love 'fun pop' but then made a snide comment about the Princess of Fun Pop: Kylie Minogue.

Honestly, I was just a modest fan of Ms. Minogue's until I recently received a crash course about her enormous musical catalog. Then, I was so lucky...

Lucky, lucky, lucky enough to see her during one of her London concerts this past month. She took my breath away. Cheesy and simple, sure. But that woman can sure put on a great show filled with music that has fun turned up to 11.

In your opinion, why do you think Kylie hasn't made the impact on American shores like she has overseas? I mean, her catalog of music is just as good as some of our pop princesses -- if not better. Do you think it has anything to do with timing or her own personal reluctance to conquer the U.S.?

Spinning Around,

Qraig de Groot
East Rutherford, N.J.


Hello Qraig,

Thanks for the compliments -- they are appreciated. Even though pop music is likely my favorite genre of music, that doesn't mean "Ask Billboard" is only limited to discussion pop divas and Paris Hilton. We're equal opportunity here. If you've got a burning question about Brad Paisley, My Chemical Romance or Michael Buble (see our first question this week), fire away.

Also, last week, Rudy Palma was the reader who wrote in regarding Minogue and Hilton. He emailed me this week and wanted to set the record strait regarding his opinion on Minogue and how I misinterpreted him. He says, "I also certainly didn't mean to make it sound like I dislike Kylie Minogue. MINOGUE IS GREAT and makes the same kind of records (as Hilton), but is obviously more talented (in my opinion) than Hilton."

That said, why is it that Minogue is a two-hit wonder in America while she is the one of the biggest female pop artists in the U.K. and Australia? Her "Fever" album was a solid seller in the U.S., and has sold 1.1 million copies in America. It generated three Billboard Hot 100 singles including the No. 7 hit "Can't Get You Out of My Head."

I think, specifically, when her next album, "Body Language," came out, the general public was underwhelmed by its lead single, "Slow." I know when I first listened to it, I was like, "Boy, this sounds... different." Granted, it eventually grew on me, but when American radio is so fickle and a song doesn't test well with its audiences, they aren't going to play it. So, "Slow" died a fast death. A flop lead single pretty much sealed the fate of the album and it didn't matter what single came after that, they pretty much went no where on the U.S. radio charts.

"Slow" and the "Body Language" album killed whatever momentum Minogue had in the U.S. It's certainly not impossible that she could have another hit in the U.S. I mean, stranger things have happened (see: Cher, "Believe").

Minogue's brand of pop music is just seemingly not in favor in America right now.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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