Omarion opens at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 with his sophomore solo effort, "21" ... The "Dreamgirls" soundtrack bounces 31-3 following the wide release of the film on Christmas Day ... Rock and rap albums jump up the chart while family-friendly titles take a tumble ... Switchfoot, the "Rocky Balboa" soundtrack, Mos Def, N.W.A. and Augustana all debut on the big chart ... Meanwhile, Walt Disney's "High School Musical" soundtrack finishes out the year, as predicted, as 2006's best-selling album. Placing at Nos. 2 and 3 are Rascal Flatts' "Me and My Gang" and Carrie Underwood's "Some Hearts," respectively.




FLASH POINTS

• R&B star Omarion makes it two for two, as his second album, "21," enters atop The Billboard 200 with 119,000 units. It follows his 2005 debut set, "O," which also started at No. 1. "O" started out with 182,000 units on its way to a to-date total of 735,000 ... Omarion's current "Ice Box" single garnered nearly 28 million in radio audience for the week ending Dec. 31 according to Nielsen BDS. It was ranked top 10 at 13 stations, including KIIS Los Angeles and WBBM Chicago. On BET, the video clip was the fifth most-played last week, while it was detected 30 times on VH1 Soul ... Omarion just wrapped the fifth edition of the Scream Tour on Dec. 31. The package trek included Ne-Yo, Mario, Yung Joc and Pretty Ricky ... Omarion's former group, B2K, hit the top 10 twice. First with its self-titled debut in 2002 and then with its follow-up a year later, "Pandemonium!" All told, the group reached the chart with two albums and three EPs in less than 18 months.


• What do My Chemical Romance, Birdman & Lil' Wayne, the Game and 30 Seconds To Mars have in common? They're all beneficiaries of the post-Christmas shopping spree where family-friendly titles slide, while rap and rock albums actually move up the chart. Figure that when kids redeemed a gift card or hopped online to fill up their newly acquired iPod, they likely opted to buy an album that their parents never thought to get them. My Chemical Romance's album moves 42-16 with a 32% decline -- healthy, compared to the 76% erosion that the Beatles' "Love" sees (No. 13). Because the overall albums market was down 55% this week, any title on The Billboard 200 that sees a decline of less than 40% is awarded a bullet ... A year ago, albums that jumped up the chart in the week after Christmas included Lil' Wayne's "Tha Carter II" (23-13, down 37%), Korn's "See You On The Other Side" (28-16, down 43%) and Chamillionaire's "The Sound of Revenge" (70-29, down 7%).


• When 2006 began, who would have ever thought that the soundtrack to a Disney Channel TV movie musical would end up being the year's best-selling album? "High School Musical" is 2006's big winner, having sold 3.7 million copies. That's the lowest figure for a year's top-seller since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking data in 1991. (SoundScan provides complete year-end data from 1992 through the present.) The previous low came when Linkin Park's "Hybrid Theory" was 2001's best-seller with 4,813,000 ... Also this year, only three albums sold more than 3 million -- "High School Musical," Rascal Flatts' "Me and My Gang" and Carrie Underwood's "Some Hearts." (The latter, which was released in November 2005, has sold 4.7 million overall.) All told, the three albums have moved 11.9 million to date. Of that figure, mass merchants like Wal-Mart accounted for 75% of those sales.


• The only title that was on last week's Billboard 200 chart to actually gain in sales this week is the deluxe edition of the "Dreamgirls" soundtrack at No. 60. The set, which was at No. 138 last week, saw a 5.6% increase. That may seem tiny, but when it comes during a week where essentially everything declines in sales, its a mighty achievement. The album's slimmed-down single-disc sister rises 31-3 with a 17% decline. The prospects for "Dreamgirls" hitting No. 1 are good, considering the track record that soundtracks in January have. At least, soundtracks from big music-driven films. Take for instance "Chicago" in late January 2003 when it rose to No. 2. Or, in Januarys past: "Save The Last Dance" (No. 3, 2001), "Titanic" (No. 1, 1998), "Romeo + Juliet" (No. 2, 1997), "Evita" (No. 2, 1997) and "Waiting To Exhale" (No. 1, 1996).


• While Dec. 26 wasn't exactly a terribly popular day for releasing albums, there are a few new entries on The Billboard 200 this week aside from Omarion. Switchfoot begins at No. 18 with "Oh! Gravity," selling 63,000. That's off quite a bit from the band's last set, "Nothing Is Sound," which started at No. 3 in 2005 with 131,000 ... The "15 Years On Death Row" compilation debuts at No. 100 with 14,000. It features the usual suspects -- 2Pac, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg ... At No. 102 is the "Family Values Tour 2006" live compilation. The set, which sold 14,000, boasts a cover of U2's "Pride (In The Name Of Love)" by Flyleaf with Army of Anyone's Richard Patrick ... The soundtrack from "Rocky Balboa" throws a punch at No. 109 with 14,000. The set does double duty as not just a soundtrack from the current film, but also a highlights set of the best music from the "Rocky" series ... N.W.A. arrives at No. 143 with "The Best Of N.W.A.: The Strength Of Street Knowledge" (10,000) ... Matisyahu's CD/DVD combo "No Place To Be" debuts at No. 146 (10,000) ... Mos Def's "Tru3 Magic" opens at No. 151 (10,000) ... and Augustana has its best sales week ever, as its Sept. 2005 album "All The Stars And Boulevards" finally debuts on The Billboard 200 at No. 173 (9,000).



The Billboard 200

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 New OMARION 21 (T.U.G. / Epic / Columbia / Sony Music) 11 8 DAUGHTRY Daughtry (RCA / RMG)
2 10 AKON Konvicted (Konvict / Upfront / SRC / Universal Motown / UMRG) 12 13 BEYONCE B'Day (Columbia / Sony Music)
*3 31 SOUNDTRACK Dreamgirls (Music World / Columbia / Sony Music) 13 5 THE BEATLES Love (Apple / Capitol)
4 1 NAS Hip Hop Is Dead (Def Jam / Columbia / IDJMG) 14 14 GWEN STEFANI The Sweet Escape (Interscope )
5 18 YOUNG JEEZY The Inspiration (Corporate Thugz / Def Jam / IDJMG) 15 4 CARRIE UNDERWOOD Some Hearts (Arista / Arista Nashville / RMG)
6 3 VARIOUS ARTISTS NOW 23 (Sony BMG Strategic Marketing Group / EMI / Universal / Zomba / Sony Music) *16 42 MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE The Black Parade (Reprise / Warner Bros.)
7 24 VARIOUS ARTISTS Eminem Presents: The Re-Up (Shady / Interscope) 17 16 FERGIE The Dutchess (will.i.am / A&M / Interscope)
8 9 JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE FutureSex/LoveSounds (Jive / Zomba) *18 New SWITCHFOOT Oh! Gravity (Columbia / Sony Music)
9 11 CIARA Ciara: The Evolution (LaFace / Zomba) 19 20 HINDER Extreme Behavior (Universal Republic / UMRG)
10 2 SOUNDTRACK Hannah Montana (Walt Disney ) 20 17 NICKELBACK All The Right Reasons (Roadrunner / IDJMG)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week





MARKET WATCH

• Album units, current chart week: 14.16 million units
• DOWN 54.7% from last issue's charts: 31.26 million units
• DOWN 15.5% from same week, 2005: 16.77 million units
• This week: The top four albums sell more than 100,000 copies.
• This week last year on The Billboard 200: Jamie Foxx and Mary J. Blige switched slots on the chart, giving Foxx a No. 1 with "Unpredictable" (200,000). Blige's "The Breakthrough" dropped to No. 2 (193,000). The only debut in the top 50 was Ying Yang Twins' remix album "U.S.A. Still United" (No. 45; 35,000). The top eight albums each sold more than 100,000 units.



BORDERLINES

• The No. 200 album this week, Diana Krall's "From This Moment On" (Verve/VG), sold 8,000.
• The No. 200 album for the same week of 2005, Paul McCartney's "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard" (MPL/Capitol), sold 9,000.
• Average total of the No. 200 album for the same week of the year during the past 10 years (1997-2006): 12,659.



PROGRESS REPORTS

• Progress Reports is on hiatus due to the New Year's holiday, but will return next week.





Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 New OMARION 21 (T.U.G. / Epic / Columbia / Sony Music)
2 1 NAS Hip Hop Is Dead (Def Jam / Columbia / IDJMG)
3 4 YOUNG JEEZY The Inspiration (Corporate Thugz / Def Jam / IDJMG)
*4 11 SOUNDTRACK Dreamgirls (Music World / Columbia / Sony Music)
5 3 CIARA Ciara: The Evolution (LaFace / Zomba)
6 7 AKON Konvicted (Konvict / Upfront / SRC / Universal Motown / UMRG)
7 5 BEYONCE B'Day (Columbia / Sony Music)
8 8 JAY-Z Kingdom Come (Roc-A-Fella / Def Jam / IDJMG)
9 6 MARY J. BLIGE Reflections (A Retrospective) (Matriarch / Geffen / Interscope)
10 2 BOW WOW The Price Of Fame (Columbia / Sony Music)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Top Country Albums

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
1 1 CARRIE UNDERWOOD Some Hearts (Arista / Arista Nashville / RMG)
2 2 RASCAL FLATTS Me And My Gang (Lyric Street / Hollywood)
3 3 KEITH URBAN Love, Pain & The Whole Crazy Thing (Capitol Nashville )
4 6 RODNEY ATKINS If You're Going Through Hell (Curb )
5 4 SUGARLAND Enjoy The Ride (Mercury / UMGN)
*6 12 TAYLOR SWIFT Taylor Swift (Big Machine )
7 8 BRAD PAISLEY Time Well Wasted (Arista Nashville / SBN)
8 7 JOSH TURNER Your Man (MCA Nashville / UMGN)
*9 28 BRAD PAISLEY Brad Paisley Christmas (Arista Nashville / SBN)
10 5 GEORGE STRAIT It Just Comes Natural (MCA Nashville / UMGN)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Hot Singles Sales

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
1 3 JEFF FOXWORTHY/BILL ENGVALL Redneck 12 Days Of Christmas/Here's Your Sign Christmas (Warner Bros. (Nashville) / WRN)
2 1 BEYONCE Irreplaceable (Columbia )
*3 New TOBYMAC Made To Love (Forefront )
4 2 KATHARINE MCPHEE Somewhere Over The Rainbow/My Destiny (RCA / RMG)
*5 11 JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE FEAT. T.I. My Love (Jive / Zomba)
6 7 THE SHINS Phantom Limb (Sub Pop )
*7 19 LIL' BASS FEAT. JT MONEY Kool Aid (Pipeline )
8 5 BEYONCE FEAT. JAY-Z Deja Vu (Columbia )
9 4 TAYLOR HICKS Do I Make You Proud/Takin' It To The Streets (Arista / RMG)
10 10 MADONNA Jump (Warner Bros. )
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Hot Digital Songs

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 2 FERGIE Fergalicious (will.i.am / A&M / Interscope)
2 1 BEYONCE Irreplaceable (Columbia )
*3 4 AKON FEAT. EMINEM Smack That (Konvict / Upfront / SRC / Universal Motown)
4 3 AKON FEATURING SNOOP DOGG I Wanna Love You (Konvict / Upfront / SRC / Universal Motown)
*5 6 THE FRAY How To Save A Life (Epic )
*6 9 THE ALL-AMERICAN REJECTS It Ends Tonight (Doghouse / Interscope)
7 5 NELLY FURTADO Say It Right (Mosley / Geffen)
*8 10 HINDER Lips Of An Angel (Universal Motown )
9 8 JIM JONES We Fly High (Diplomats / Koch)
10 7 JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE FEAT. T.I. My Love (Jive / Zomba)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Top Heatseekers

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 2 AVENTURA K.O.B.: Live (Premium Latin / Sony BMG Norte)
2 5 BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE The Poison (Trustkill )
*3 10 AUGUSTANA All The Stars And Boulevards (Epic / Sony Music)
4 7 SHINY TOY GUNS We Are Pilots (Universal Motown / UMRG)
5 8 CARTEL Chroma (The Militia Group / Epic / Sony Music)
6 4 MAT KEARNEY Nothing Left To Lose (Aware / Columbia / Sony Music)
*7 New THE STARLITE SINGERS Christmas Shoes (Madacy Special Products / Madacy)
*8 25 SAY ANYTHING ...Is A Real Boy (Doghouse / J / RMG)
*9 23 CHIODOS All's Well That Ends Well (Equal Vision )
*10 32 BOYS LIKE GIRLS Boys Like Girls (Columbia / Red Ink)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Top Pop Catalog Albums

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 8 DANE COOK Harmful If Swallowed (Comedy Central )
*2 13 GUNS N' ROSES Greatest Hits (Geffen / Interscope)
3 2 VINCE GUARALDI TRIO A Charlie Brown Christmas (Soundtrack) (Fantasy / Concord)
*4 17 PINK FLOYD Dark Side Of The Moon (Capitol )
5 9 BOB SEGER & THE SILVER BULLET BAND Greatest Hits (Capitol )
6 10 THE BEATLES 1 (Apple / Capitol)
7 12 KEITH URBAN Be Here (Capitol Nashville )
8 6 RASCAL FLATTS Feels Like Today (Lyric Street / Hollywood)
9 20 THE DOORS Best Of The Doors (Elektra / Asylum / Elektra)
10 11 JOHNNY CASH 16 Biggest Hits (Legacy / Columbia (Nashville) / Sony Music)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week




A LOOK AHEAD

• Among the titles released this week, due on next week's charts: Carly Simon's "Into White," Elvis Presley's "The Essential Elvis Presley," the soundtrack "L Tunes: Music From and Inspired by 'The L Word'" and Andre Rieu's "Romantic Moments."

• Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2006 when: Jamie Foxx held at No. 1 with "Unpredictable," while Mary J. Blige and Eminem were at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively. The chart's top debut came from the Strokes' "First Impressions of Earth" at No. 4 (88,000). The top three albums each sold more than 100,000 units.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

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