A bevy of debuts flood the Billboard 200 chart this week as the march towards Christmas continues. AC/DC's "Black Ice" holds at No. 1, but a whopping 11 titles enter the top 20. The chart greets arrivals from Pink, John Legend, Toby Keith, Rascal Flatts, Snow Patrol, Ryan Adams, Lady GaGa, the Cure, Michael W. Smith and Bloc Party, among many others ... In other news, we've got updates on Britney Spears' "Womanizer," Rihanna's endless string of radio hits and another top 10 hit for a superstar country band.


FLASH POINTS

• AC/DC is still chillin' at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with "Black Ice," as the album shifts 271,000 in its second week (down 65%). The set fends off a bevy of debuts -- 11 in the top 20 alone -- including Pink's "Funhouse" (No. 2 with 180,000). The colorful singer celebrates her highest charting album ever and her best debut sales week since 2001's "Missundaztood" rang up 220,000. Pink's last release, "I'm Not Dead," started at No. 6 in 2006 with 126,000. Three years earlier, "Try This" landed at No. 9 with 147,000. Her breakthrough sophomore album, "Missundaztood," debuted at No. 8 with the aforementioned 220,000, though it later moved 323,000 over Christmas week of 2001 -- Pink's best sales week.

• Last week's No. 2 album, the soundtrack to "High School Musical 3: Senior Year," slips to No. 3 with 162,000 (down 45%). The film continued to reign at the U.S. and Canada box office for a second weekend (Oct. 31-Nov. 2) where it earned $15 million ... John Legend's third studio album, "Evolver," climbs in at No. 4 with 133,000. His last offering, "Once Again," started at No. 3 in 2006 with 231,000 ... A pair of superstar country acts are up next on the big chart, with Toby Keith's "That Don't Make Me A Bad Guy" bowing at No. 5 with 91,000 and Rascal Flatts' first greatest hits set entering at No. 6 with 89,000. Over on Top Country Albums, the sets begin at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.

• Celine Dion's "My Love - Essential Collection," warbles its way to a No. 8 debut with 57,000. The set was released in two main configurations -- a 17-track single disc version and a 26-track double-disc set. The sales of both editions were merged together for charting purposes. Dion's last proper hits package, "All The Way ... A Decade of Song," bowed at No. 3 in late 1999 with 302,000 before eventually spending three weeks at No. 1.

• Snow Patrol notches its highest charting album ever as "A Hundred Million Suns" debuts at No. 9 with 48,000. Digital downloads accounted for 52% of the set's first week sum, no doubt aided in part by Amazon.com's MP3 service, where the album was sale priced for only $3.99.

• At No. 11, Ryan Adams' "Cardinology" lands with 40,000. The singer's last full-length effort, 2007's "Easy Tiger," began at No. 7 with 61,000 ... The Cure earns its 18th charting album on the Billboard 200 as "4:13 Dream" floats in at No. 16 with 24,000. The veteran band's last release, its 2004's self-titled set, entered at No. 7 with 91,000. The act first charted on the Billboard 200 on Aug. 13, 1983, when "The Walk" debuted ... Lady GaGa's debut album "The Fame" bows at No. 17 with 24,000. The set's first single, "Just Dance," debuts on the Mainstream Top 40 radio airplay chart this week at No. 34. The song first hit a Billboard chart back in May, when it debuted on our Hot Dance Club Play chart at No. 44, before ultimately peaking at No. 2 in late June ... Bloc Party throws a bash at No. 18 as its "Intimacy" set arrives with 24,000. The band's last album, 2007's "A Weekend in the City," debuted and peaked at No. 12 with 48,000. ... Turning 180 degrees, we greet Michael W. Smith's live album "A New Hallelujah," as it sings out at No. 19 in its first week with 23,000.



The Billboard 200

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
1 1 AC/DC Black Ice (Columbia / Sony Music) *11 New RYAN ADAMS & THE CARDINALS Cardinology (Lost Highway )
*2 New PINK Funhouse (LaFace / Zomba) 12 5 METALLICA Death Magnetic (Warner Bros. )
3 2 SOUNDTRACK High School Musical 3: Senior Year (Walt Disney ) 13 6 KID ROCK Rock N Roll Jesus (Top Dog / Atlantic / AG)
*4 New JOHN LEGEND Evolver (G.O.O.D. / Columbia / Sony Music) *14 9 JENNIFER HUDSON Jennifer Hudson (Arista / RMG)
*5 New TOBY KEITH That Don't Make Me A Bad Guy (Show Dog Nashville ) 15 8 NE-YO Year Of The Gentleman (Def Jam / IDJMG)
*6 New RASCAL FLATTS Greatest Hits Volume 1 (Lyric Street / Hollywood) *16 New THE CURE 4:13 Dream (Suretone )
7 3 T.I. Paper Trail (Grand Hustle / Atlantic / AG) *17 New LADY GAGA The Fame (Streamline / KonLive / Cherrytree / Interscope / IGA)
*8 New CELINE DION My Love: Essential Collection (Columbia / Sony Music) *18 New BLOC PARTY Intimacy (Atlantic / AG)
*9 New SNOW PATROL A Hundred Million Suns (Polydor / Fiction / Geffen / IGA) *19 New MICHAEL W. SMITH A New Hallelujah (Reunion )
10 4 KENNY CHESNEY Lucky Old Sun (Blue Chair / BNA / SBN) 20 10 LIL WAYNE Tha Carter III (Cash Money / Universal Motown / UMRG)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week




MARKET WATCH

• Album units, current chart week: 6.96 million units
• DOWN 1.7% from last issue's charts: 7.07 million units
• DOWN 25% from same week, 2007: 9.25 million units
• This week: the top four albums each sell more than 100,000 copies.
• This week last year on The Billboard 200: Eagles' "Long Road Out of Eden" flew in at No. 1 with 711,000 while Britney Spears' "Blackout" settled for the runner-up slot in its debut week (290,000). The top three albums each sold more than 100,000.



BORDERLINES

• The No. 200 album this week, Kim Waters' "I Want You: Love in the Spirit of Marvin" (Shanachie), sold 3,000.
• The No. 200 album for the same week of 2007, the various artists compilation "Disney's Karaoke Series: High School Musical 2" (Walt Disney), sold 4,000.
• Average total of the No. 200 album for the same week of the year during the past 10 years (1999-2008): 5,443.


PROGRESS REPORTS

• Britney Spears reaches the top 10 of the Mainstream Top 40 radio airplay chart for the first time in four years, as "Womanizer" flies 14-10. The lead cut from "Circus," due Dec. 2, is Spears' seventh top 10 and first since "Everytime" rose to No. 4 in July 2004. That ballad followed her third and most recent No. 1, "Toxic."

• Also on the Mainstream Top 40 tally, Rihanna debuts at No. 37 with "Rehab." It's the eighth track from her album "Good Girl Gone Bad" to chart on the list. It also marks the 15th entry for the singer. Since Rihanna's first appearance with her debut single "Pon De Replay" on the chart dated June 17, 2005, she has been on the tally continuously with at least one title for 175 of 178 weeks, absent only for three consecutive weeks in fall 2006.

• As Rascal Flatts bows in the top 10 of the Billboard 200 with its first greatest hits set, the trio claims its 20th top 10 single on the Hot Country Songs chart, as "Here" motors 11-9 in its ninth week on the list. The act's first top 10 came back in 2000, when "Prayin' For Daylight" hit No. 3 on the chart dated July 29, 2000.


A LOOK AHEAD

• Among the titles released this week, due on next week's charts: Brad Paisley's "Play," Hinder's "Take It To The Limit," Andrea Bocelli's "Incanto," Sarah Brightman's "A Winter Symphony," the soundtrack to the film "Twilight," Harry Connick Jr.'s "What A Night! A Christmas Album" and Travis' "Ode To J. Smith."

• Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2007 when: Jay-Z's "American Gangster" replaced Eagles' "Long Road Out of Eden" at No. 1. The rapper's album shifted 425,000 in its first week while "Eden" sold 359,000 in its second week (down 49%). The top six albums each sold more than 100,000.