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Patrick Demarchelier

Whitney Houston struggled with her voice during her much-hyped comeback performance on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Tuesday (Sept. 1). But, industry prognosticators are suggesting the soul music diva won't trip up on the charts next week.

Released on Aug. 31st, "I Look To You" -- Houston's first album in seven years -- is expected to sell upward of 200,000 copies, which should easily enable it to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart. If this is the case, Miley Cyrus' "The Time of Our Lives" exclusive Wal-Mart EP, which entered at No. 3 with 62,000 copies sold this week, according to Nielsen Soundscan, will drop down a few slots below Houston's "You."

"Lives," which was originally due on August 31st like Houston's album, was pushed up three days last minute for an early release.

With return sales and chart entry like that, Houston won't need to apologize to her fans, although she did find herself asking for forgiveness from the 5,000 concert-goers at Central Park's Rumsey Playfield on Tuesday for overusing her famous pipes. "I'm sorry. I did 'Oprah.' I've been talking so long... I talked so much, my voice," she attempted to explain. "I shouldn't be talking, I should be singing," she said before breaking into "I'm Every Woman," the last of her three-song set.

Other tracks performed included "Million Dollar Bill" and the album's title track, during which Houston choked up.

Since the official announcement of the new album on June 4th, internet buzz on Houston, who'd made headlines the past few years for the lapse in her career, marriage to ex-husband Bobby Brown and alleged history of drug abuse, among other negative things, has increased. On July 3rd, when the track "I Didn't Know My Own Strength" leaked, chatter on Houston went up; on July 15th, when she held her first listening event in London, web chatter rose again; on July 24th, when the R. Kelly-penned title track was released, buzz jumped further; and then on July 29, when it was announced her album would arrive early, buzz on Houston improved yet again.


Houston isn't the only artist with an album that bowed on Aug. 31: this week also greeted new sets from the Used, Trey Songz, Pitbull, Chevelle and John Fogerty.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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