Ne-Yo and Michael Buble bow at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, on The Billboard 200 -- it's the second chart-topper for the former and a new high for the latter ... The pair are just two of six debuts in the top 10 this week. Rush, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton and Tori Amos all see their latest releases bow in the top 10. Other big debuts include efforts from Feist and Corbin Bleu, the soundtrack to "Spider Man 3" and the live "High School Musical: The Concert" set ... In Progress Reports, we've got news on a nail-biter No. 1 situation on Hot Country Songs, the slowest climb ever to No. 1 on the CHR/Top 40 chart and how one red-hot band becomes only the second act to pull off a rockin' feat.




FLASH POINTS



• Singer/songwriter Ne-Yo returns with his second chart-topping album in a little more than a year, as "Because of You" bounds onto The Billboard 200 with 251,000 units. He leads a handsome six debuts in the chart's top 10 this week. Ne-Yo's new set follows his "In My Own Words" debut, which also began at No. 1 in March 2006. That effort, powered by his "So Sick" single, sold 301,000 in its first week ... The new album's title track is already in the top 10 on The Billboard Hot 100 and the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart ... Ne-Yo performed on "Live With Regis and Kelly" (May 1) and "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" (May 4) during release week ... The album was sale-priced for less than $10 at Target, Best Buy, Circuit City and Kmart. Wal-Mart carried an exclusive edition that boasted a BET-produced DVD for $13.88 ... Crooner Michael Buble snags his highest-charting album yet, as "Call Me Irresponsible" debuts at No. 2 on The Billboard 200 with 199,000 units -- his best sales week. His last studio set, 2005's "It's Time," started at No. 7 with 93,000. The new album was available through Target with an exclusive DVD that contained 30 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage. Target carried the CD/DVD combo for $13.98 during release week ... Additionally, devoted Buble fans who ordered the set via his official Web site could opt for the Internet-only edition ($39.98 for the album, plus two bonus songs and a 40-page book packaged in a metallic slipcase).

• Rush returns with its first studio album in five years, as "Snakes & Arrows" bows at No. 3 with 93,000 units. Its last studio set, 2002's "Vapor Trails," began at No. 6 with 108,000. All told, the new set is the act's 27th album to reach The Billboard 200. Its highest-charting effort remains 1993's "Counterparts," which debuted and peaked at No. 2 ... Tori Amos achieves her sixth top 10 album on The Billboard 200 as "American Doll Posse" bows at No. 5 with 54,000 units. During release week she played "Late Show With David Letterman" (May 3) and "Live With Regis and Kelly" (May 4). The new album was available in a limited-edition deluxe version for $22.98 containing a bonus track, a DVD with behind-the-scenes footage, five postcards and a 36-page booklet ... Amos' chart history dates back to 1992 when "Little Earthquakes" debuted and would eventually peak at No. 52. Her last studio effort, 2005's "The Beekeeper," also buzzed in at No. 5 with 83,000.


• Miranda Lambert starts at No. 6 on The Billboard 200 and No. 1 on Top Country albums with her second album, "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" (53,000). Her first album, 2005's "Kerosene," bowed atop the Country list with 40,000 while it landed at No. 18 on the big chart. Oddly, the singer -- who placed third on "Nashville Star" in 2003 -- has yet to crack the top 10 on Hot Country Songs. She has come close -- "Kerosene" stalled at No. 15 in early 2006. Her current single, "Famous in a Small Town," climbs 46-38 on the tally this week ... Speaking of country, Blake Shelton's "Pure BS" begins at No. 2 on Top Country Albums and at No. 8 on The Billboard 200 with 48,000 units. It's the singer's fourth album, and it follows his 2004 set "Blake Shelton's Barn & Grill." It debuted and peaked at No. 20 on the big chart and No. 3 on Top Country Albums with 39,000. His best sales frame remains the week that 2003's "The Dreamer" bowed with 77,000.

• Other debuts on The Billboard 200 this week include Feist's "The Reminder" (No. 16 with 31,000), the live "High School Musical: The Concert" album (No. 28 with 22,000), the "Spider-Man 3" soundtrack (No. 33 with 21,000), Corbin Bleu's "Another Side" (No. 36 with 18,000), Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's "Baby 81" (No. 46; 14,000), Angelique Kidjo's "Djin Djin" (No. 61; 11,000), Dinosaur Jr's "Beyond" (No. 68, 10,000), the Fall of Troy's "Manipulator" (No. 76; 10,000) and Jon McLaughlin's "Indiana" (No. 84; 9,000).



The Billboard 200

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 New NE-YO Because Of You (Def Jam / IDJMG) 11 6 AKON Konvicted (Konvict / Upfront / SRC / Universal Motown / UMRG)
*2 New MICHAEL BUBLE Call Me Irresponsible (143 / Reprise / Warner Bros.) 12 3 NINE INCH NAILS Year Zero (Nothing / Interscope)
*3 New RUSH Snakes & Arrows (Anthem / Atlantic / AG) 13 11 AMY WINEHOUSE Back To Black (Universal Republic / UMRG)
4 1 AVRIL LAVIGNE The Best Damn Thing (RCA / RMG) 14 2 JOE Ain't Nothing Like Me (Jive / Zomba)
*5 New TORI AMOS American Doll Posse (Epic / Sony Music) 15 10 TIM MCGRAW Let It Go (Curb )
*6 New MIRANDA LAMBERT Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Columbia (Nashville) / SBN) *16 New FEIST The Reminder (Cherrytree / Polydor / Interscope)
*7 5 DAUGHTRY Daughtry (RCA / RMG) 17 13 ROBIN THICKE The Evolution Of Robin Thicke (Star Trak / Interscope)
*8 New BLAKE SHELTON Pure BS (Warner Bros. (Nashville) / WRN) 18 12 FERGIE The Dutchess (will.i.am / A&M / Interscope)
9 4 VARIOUS ARTISTS NOW 24 (EMI / Sony BMG / Universal / Zomba / Capitol) 19 9 MARTINA MCBRIDE Waking Up Laughing (RCA Nashville / SBN)
10 8 CARRIE UNDERWOOD Some Hearts (Arista / Arista Nashville / RMG) 20 15 BEYONCE B'Day (Columbia / Sony Music)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week





MARKET WATCH

• Album units, current chart week: 8.43 million units
• UP 9.6% from last issue's charts: 7.69 million units
• DOWN 16.2% from same week, 2006: 10.06 million units
• This week: The top two albums sell more than 100,000 copies.
• This week last year on The Billboard 200: Tool's "10,000 Days" started its days at No. 1 with 564,000, and Pearl Jam's self-titled set came in at No. 2 with 279,000. Mobb Deep's "Blood Money" bowed at No. 3 with 106,000, Jewel's "Goodbye Alice in Wonderland" started at No. 8 with 82,000, and Phil Vassar's "Greatest Hits Volume 1" began at No. 10 with 65,000. The top three albums sold more than 100,000 units.



BORDERLINES

• The No. 200 album this week, Jack Ingram's "This Is It" (Big Machine), sold 4,000.
• The No. 200 album for the same week of 2006, the Dresden Dolls' "Yes, Virginia . . ." (Roadrunner), sold 4,000.
• Average total of the No. 200 album for the same week of the year during the past 10 years (1998-2007): 5,506.



PROGRESS REPORTS

• For the first time since the Hot Country Songs chart converted its rankings to audience impressions in January 2005, the two most-heard titles finish the tracking week in a tie. Sugarland's "Settlin' " and Rascal Flatts' "Stand" collect 35.1 million impressions. The tie-breaker for the chart goes to the song with the best gain, giving "Settlin'," with an increase of 224,400 impressions to a 679,800 loss for "Stand," the chart crown... Rascal Flatts was also on the short end of the next-closest battle for No. 1 when 10,000 audience impressions separated Keith Urban's "Making Memories of Us" at No. 1 from the trio's "Fast Cars and Freedom" on the June 18, 2005, chart ... This is the second time in six months that Sugarland has succeeded Rascal Flatts at the top of the chart. Flatts' prior track, "My Wish," spent one week at No. 1 in the Dec. 16, 2006, issue, and was replaced by Sugarland's "Want To" the following week. Prior to these two occasions, no duo or group had replaced another at No. 1 since Lonestar's "Tell Her" took over for the Dixie Chicks' "Without You" in January 2001.

• Pink returns to the top of the CHR/Top 40 radio chart for the first time in five years as "U + Ur Hand" jumps 4-1 in its 23rd chart week. The song's methodical climb to the summit is the longest in the list's history, besting the 21-week stroll by Jewel's "You Were Meant for Me" in 1997 and Eagle-Eye Cherry's "Save Tonight" in 1999 ... Pink last led the CHR/Top 40 chart with "Don't Let Me Get Me" in May 2002, making her five-year gap between No. 1s the fourth-longest by a lead artist. Mariah Carey's eight-year, four-month span between "One Sweet Day" in 1996 and "We Belong Together" in 2005 remains the longest.

• Green Day debuts on all four of Billboard's rock-based radio airplay charts with its remake of John Lennon's "Working Class Hero." The single starts at No. 25 on Alternative/Modern Rock, No. 37 on Active Rock, No. 22 on Rock and No. 29 at Triple A. It's the first title to enter all four charts in the same week since the Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Dani California" did so in April 2006 ... Coincidentally, the Chili Peppers earn their fourth Alternative/Modern Rock top 10 from "Stadium Arcadium" as "Hump De Bump" moves 11-8. That equals the band's top 10 output from its 1999 set "Californication" and makes it the second act to score at least four top 10 tracks from two different albums following Green Day (five from 1994's "Dookie" and four from 2004's "American Idiot").




Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 New NE-YO Because Of You (Def Jam / IDJMG)
2 1 JOE Ain't Nothing Like Me (Jive / Zomba)
*3 4 MUSIQ SOULCHILD Luvanmusiq (Atlantic / AG)
4 3 ROBIN THICKE The Evolution Of Robin Thicke (Star Trak / Interscope)
*5 7 LLOYD Street Love (The Inc. / Universal Motown / UMRG)
6 5 AKON Konvicted (Konvict / Upfront / SRC / Universal Motown / UMRG)
7 6 YOUNG BUCK Buck The World (G-Unit / Interscope)
8 8 BEYONCE B'Day (Columbia / Sony Music)
9 2 CHUCK BROWN We're About The Business (Full Circle / Raw Venture)
10 9 TIMBALAND Timbaland Presents Shock Value (Mosley / Blackground / Interscope)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Top Country Albums

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 New MIRANDA LAMBERT Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Columbia / SBN)
*2 New BLAKE SHELTON Pure BS (Warner Bros. / WRN)
3 1 CARRIE UNDERWOOD Some Hearts (Arista / Arista Nashville / RMG)
4 3 TIM MCGRAW Let It Go (Curb )
5 2 MARTINA MCBRIDE Waking Up Laughing (RCA / SBN)
*6 5 TAYLOR SWIFT Taylor Swift (Big Machine )
7 6 RASCAL FLATTS Me And My Gang (Lyric Street / Hollywood)
8 4 ALISON KRAUSS A Hundred Miles Or More: A Collection (Rounder )
9 7 BUCKY COVINGTON Bucky Covington (Lyric Street / Hollywood)
10 8 LARRY THE CABLE GUY Morning Constitutions (Jack / Warner Bros. / WRN)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Top Heatseekers

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 8 PETER BJORN AND JOHN Writer's Block (AlmostGold )
*2 7 BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE The Poison (Trustkill )
3 4 UNK Beat'n Down Yo Block (Big Oomp / Koch)
4 5 RODRIGO Y GABRIELA Rodrigo Y Gabriela (ATO )
*5 11 BOYS LIKE GIRLS Boys Like Girls (Columbia / Sony Music)
*6 10 COLD WAR KIDS Robbers & Cowards (Downtown )
7 6 BEBEL GILBERTO Momento (Ziriguiboom / Crammed Discs / Six Degrees)
*8 13 EMERSON DRIVE Countrified (Montage / Midas)
*9 New THE PUPPINI SISTERS Betcha Bottom Dollar (Verve / Universal Classics Group)
*10 New BOONDOX PunkinHed (EP) (Psychopathic )
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Top Pop Catalog Albums

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 New BON JOVI Cross Road (Mercury / UMe)
*2 4 MICHAEL BUBLE It's Time (143 / Reprise / Warner Bros.)
*3 New BON JOVI Slippery When Wet (Mercury / UMe)
*4 8 IL DIVO Il Divo (SYCO / Columbia / Sony Music)
5 1 JOSH GROBAN Closer (143 / Reprise / Warner Bros.)
*6 3 GUNS N' ROSES Greatest Hits (Geffen / Interscope)
7 5 RASCAL FLATTS Feels Like Today (Lyric Street / Hollywood)
*8 9 KELLY CLARKSON Breakaway (RCA / RMG)
9 6 ORIGINAL BROADWAY CAST RECORDING Wicked (Decca Broadway / Universal Classics Group)
*10 19 MICHAEL BUBLE Michael Buble (143 / Reprise / Warner Bros.)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week




A LOOK AHEAD

• Among the titles released this week, due on next week's charts: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony's "Strength and Loyalty," Barbra Streisand's "Live in Concert," Bobby Valentino's "Special Occasion," Bjork's "Volta," Radiohead's "Com Lag 2Plus2IsFive," Paula Abdul's "Greatest Hits - Straight Up!," H.I.M.'s "And Love Said No: Greatest Hits 1997-2004" and the various-artists compilation "Duke Da God Presents: Dipset More Than Music Vol. 2."
• Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2006 when: Red Hot Chili Peppers scored their first No. 1 album as "Stadium Arcadium" bowed at No. 1 with 442,000. Nick Lachey arrived in the runner-up slot with "What's Left of Me" (172,000) while Jagged Edge and the Isley Brothers Featuring Ronald Isley debuted at Nos. 4 and 5 with 115,000 and 111,000, respectively. The previous week's No. 1, Tool's "10,000 Days," slipped to No. 3 with 157,000. The top six albums sold more than 100,000 units.