As for next week's Billboard 200, it's looking like gospel singer/minister Marvin Sapp will earn the highest debut as industry prognosticator foresee his "Here I Am" album selling as many as 70,000 copies by week's end on Sunday March 21.
That sales figure may place the album into the top five on next week's chart. His last set, 2007's "Thirsty," peaked at No. 28 on the Billboard 200 but spent a lengthy 81 weeks on the chart. It has sold 710,000 copies to date according to Nielsen SoundScan. Its long run on the charts and healthy sales can be attributed in part to his surprise radio hit "Never Would Have Made It," which spent a staggering 56 weeks on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart between 2008 and 2009.
We're guessing that with the current Nos. 1 and 2 albums -- Ludacris' "Battle of the Sexes" and Gorillaz's "Plastic Beach" -- expected to make sizable second-week sales declines after their debuts this week, Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" (No. 3 this past week) could make an encore return to No. 1 next week.
The last time a gospel set visited the top 10 of the Billboard 200 was when Mary Mary's "The Sound" debuted at No. 7 in November of 2008 with 37,000 copies.