Eminem's fifth straight No. 1 debut, "Relapse," roars at the top of the Billboard 200 with 608,000—the biggest sales week of the year for any album and the best since AC/DC's "Black Ice" began with 784,000 copies last October . . . The rapper was just one of many acts who had a new album arrive last week. Those that open high on the Billboard 200 include Kenny Chesney, Method Man and Redman, Dane Cook, Busta Rhymes, Tori Amos and Kate Voegele . . . The two-night finale of "American Idol" last week impacts this week's tallies, as both winner Kris Allen and runner-up Adam Lambert storm the charts. [PLEASE NOTE: This story was updated at 2:35 PST on May 27 to reflect new chart data.]

FLASH POINTS

• No surprise: Eminem's "Relapse" returns the rapper to familiar ground—the No. 1 slot on the Billboard 200. With 608,000 sold in its first week, it not only nets the biggest sales week of the year for any album, but the best since AC/DC's "Black Ice" began with 784,000 copies last October. It's Eminem's fifth straight No. 1 debut—and fifth overall No. 1. His only album to miss the top spot was his "Slim Shady LP" debut, which bowed and peaked at No. 2 in 1999.

• Eminem's last studio set, 2004's "Encore," arrived with 711,000 after an abbreviated debut week—it was released four days earlier than scheduled in order to counter leaks. A little more than a year later, his greatest-hits package "Curtain Call" took the stage with 441,000 in December 2005. Collectively, his six albums have sold 34 million in the United States, making him the biggest-selling hip-hop artist in the Nielsen SoundScan era (1991-present).

• Eminem seemed to be the pied piper last week in terms of new releases, as a cavalcade of artists unleashed their latest sets last Tuesday, May 19. 'Course, it didn't hurt that the two-night "American Idol" finale, which wrapped up Wednesday, May 20, brought a lot of people into physical and digital stores too.

• Ten combined tracks from "American Idol" winner Kris Allen and runner-up Adam Lambert dot this week's 75-position Hot Digital Songs tally . . . but each track lags behind the 177,000 downloads moved by "Don't Stop Believin'," from the cast of Fox TV's "Glee" series. "Believin' " enters the chart at No. 2, trailing the eight-week leader "Boom Boom Pow" by the Black Eyed Peas (240,000).

• Allen's victory single "No Boundaries," one of five songs the newly crowned champ places on the list, moves 134,000 downloads to open at No. 4 and is followed immediately at No. 5 by his rendition of Kanye West's "Heartless" (125,000). The sum for "Boundaries" falls short of the 236,000 downloads shifted by 2008 winner David Cook's triumphant tune "The Time of My Life" a year ago this week. In addition, Allen's five charting songs fall well short of the 14 Cook tallied in the post-show week. Part of this discrepancy can be attributed to the other purchasing options offered to Allen's fans that were not available a year ago for Cook's followers, including the iTunes Pass and the digital album "Season 8 Favorite Performances," which opens at No. 50 on the Billboard 200 with 10,000 sold. Cook meanwhile debuts at No. 10 on Hot Digital Songs with "Permanent" (103,000), which he performed on the star-studded "Idol" finale.

• Runner-up Lambert also debuts with five tracks, with his take on Tears for Fears' "Mad World" leading the charge at No. 7 with 115,000. Lambert's chart showing bests the three songs placed by 2008 runner-up David Archuleta on the list a year ago, and his sum for "Mad World" is significantly better than the weekly downloads moved by Archuleta's top track, "Imagine" (71,000).

• But let's move back to the Billboard 200 . . . Kenny Chesney's CD-only "Greatest Hits II" arrives at No. 3 with 89,000. That gives the country king his eighth top 10 album overall and his seventh consecutive bow in the top 10. His first "Greatest Hits," released in 2000, peaked at No. 13 and was his last non-Christmas album to miss the top 10. The new "Hits II" contains one previously unreleased track, "Out Last Night," which bullets at No. 4 for a second week on the Hot Country Songs chart. The tune isn't available digitally, so perhaps some fans were lured into buying the new "Hits II" album in order to obtain the new single.

• Comedian/actor Dane Cook garners his second top 10 album as "ISolated INcident" starts at No. 4 with 61,000. His first top 10, 2005's "Retaliation," debuted and peaked at No. 4 with 86,000 and spent 84 weeks on the list. His new album was heralded by Comedy Central's unprecedented commercial-free airing of a stand-up premiere as the network debuted Cook's "ISolated INcident" special Sunday, May 17.

• Busta Rhymes returns to the chart after nearly three years as "Back on My B.S." enters at No. 5 with 59,000. The rapper's last set, 2006's "The Big Bang," blew in at No. 1 with 209,000 . . . Method Man and Redman pair up for another top 10 album as "Blackout! 2" starts at No. 7 with 57,000. The rappers collaborated on the first "Blackout!" album in 1999, which debuted and peaked at No. 3 with 254,000. Method Man has had another four solo top 10 sets on his own, while Redman has one solo top 10 (2001's "Malpractice").

• Tori Amos finds herself with her seventh top 10 album as "Abnormally Attracted to Sin" starts at No. 9 with 41,000. The effort is her first with Universal Republic, after having released her last three sets on Epic between 2002 and 2007. The rest of her chart career, from 1992-2001, was spent with Atlantic Records.

• Singer/actress Kate Voegele jumps onto the Billboard 200 with her second studio album, "A Fine Mess," landing at No. 10 with 37,000. The performer, who has a recurring role on the CW's "One Tree Hill," peaked at No. 27 last year with her first set, "Don't Look Away."

• Last week's No. 1, Green Day's "21st Century Breakdown," slips to No. 2 with 166,000—down only 23% after its first full week in stores. Elsewhere in the top 10, the soundtrack to "Hannah Montana: The Movie" slips five spots to No. 7 with 58,000 (down 15%) while Lady GaGa's "The Fame" falls four slots to No. 8 with 45,000 (up 9%). GaGa descended the chart despite her gain because of the five new albums that arrived in the top six this week.






MARKET WATCH

• Album units, current chart week: 6.6 million units
• UP 12.9% from last week's charts: 5.9 million units
• DOWN 8.8% from same week, 2008: 7.2 million units
• This week: The top two albums each sell more than 100,000 copies.
• This week last year on the Billboard 200: 3 Doors Down's self-titled album stepped in at No. 1 in its first week, selling 154,000 copies. Bun B's "Il Trill" began at No. 2 with 98,000, and Julianne Hough's self-titled album landed at No. 3 with 67,000.



BORDERLINES

• The No. 20 album this week, Chrisette Michele's "Epiphany" (Def Jam), sold 21,000.
• The No. 20 album for the same week of 2008, Daughtry's "Daughtry" (RCA), sold 20,000.
• Average total of the No. 20 album for the same week of the year during the past 10 years (2000-2009): 41,859.



PROGRESS REPORTS

• Brad Paisley becomes one of just five acts in the history of the Hot Country Songs chart to collect 10 consecutive No. 1 singles, as "Then," his 14th career leader, rises 2-1. Paisley joins only Alabama (21), Sonny James (16), George Strait (11) and Ronnie Milsap (10) with double-digit No. 1 runs. Paisley's streak began with "When I Get Where I'm Going" in February 2006. He most recently led with "Start a Band" on the Jan. 24 chart. Bookending the top 10, labelmate Alan Jackson logs his landmark 50th top 10 with "Sissy's Song" (moving 12-10). Jackson first reached the top 10 with "Here in the Real World" (No. 3) in April 1990. The new song's rise makes his current album, "Good Time," his first with four top 10s since "Drive" in 2001-02.

• Linkin Park posts its third top 10 debut on the Modern Rock radio airplay chart, as "New Divide" roars in at No. 6. The group is the fifth act to land a trio of top 10 entrances in the chart's 20-year history, joining U2 (eight), R.E.M. (six), Pearl Jam (four) and Red Hot Chili Peppers (three). "Divide" marks the chart's highest bow since the Offspring's "Hammerhead" (No. 5) on the May 24, 2008, chart. "New Divide" is from the "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" soundtrack and also debuts at No. 3 on the Hot Digital Songs chart with 152,000 downloads sold in its first week.

• Pop veteran Jody Watley notches her 19th solo hit on the Hot Dance Club Play chart as "Candlelight" enters at No. 46 this week. Her solo chart history dates back to 1987, when "Looking for a New Love" became her first of seven No. 1 hits. As part of the group Shalamar, she charted another five Club hits, including the No. 1 "The Second Time Around," between 1979 and 1983.






A LOOK AHEAD

• Among the albums released this week, due on next week's charts: Marilyn Manson's "The High End of Low," Grizzly Bear's "Veckatimest," Wisin and Yandel's "La Revolucion," Electrik Red's "How to Be a Lady, Vol. 1," Mandy Moore's "Amanda Leigh" and the physical version of Phoenix's "Wolfgang Amadeux Phoenix."

• Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2008 when: Usher's "Here I Stand" stood up in its debut week at No. 1 with 443,000 while the "Sex and the City" soundtrack started in the runner-up slot with 66,000. Al Green's "Lay It Down" was the lone other entry in the top 10, coming in at No. 9 with 34,000.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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