The latest albums from Chrisette Michele and Ciara are on track to debut high on the Billboard 200 chart next week -- both with a shot at a No. 1 bow.
Industry prognosticators suggest both Michele's "Epiphany" (Def Jam) and Ciara's "Fantasy Ride" (LaFace) will sell over 70,000 copies in their first week of release. With the Mother's Day holiday on Sunday (May 10), both could see a bump in sales over the weekend due to mom-inspired gift-shopping. Additionally, Ciara is slated to perform on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" on May 9.
Ciara's last release, 2006's "The Evolution," started at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with 338,000 in the thick of the Christmas shopping season, while Michele's freshman effort "I Am" debuted and peaked at No. 29 with 27,000 in 2007.
Ciara and Michele's new albums respectively lead the Nielsen SoundScan Building Chart that was released on May 6, which reflected unweighted sales through the close of business on Tuesday, May 5.
Billboard estimates the seven merchants who report to Nielsen SoundScan's Building chart -- Trans World Entertainment, Best Buy, iTunes, Starbucks, Borders, Target and Anderson Merchandisers -- comprise about 60% of all U.S. album sales.
Other albums looking to start high on the Billboard 200 next week include Devil Wears Prada's "With Roots Above and Branches Below" (Ferret), Ben Harper's "White Lies For Dark Times" (Virgin/Capitol), Elliott Yamin's "Fight For Love" (Hickory), Paul Potts' "Passione" (SYCO/Columbia) and Conor Oberst's "Outer South" (Merge).
Nielsen SoundScan's sales tracking week, as reflected in the official Billboard 200 chart, runs from Monday through Sunday of each week. The newest Billboard 200 chart, released today (May 6) -- where Bob Dylan's "Together Through Life" (Columbia) bowed at No. 1 with 125,000 -- reflected the week that ended on Sunday, May 3.