Ciara takes her second album, "The Evolution," straight to No. 1 on The Billboard 200 as it sells 338,000 ... Also starting strong is the "Eminem Presents the Re-Up" compilation at No. 2 and Gwen Stefani's "The Sweet Escape" at No. 3 ... Other debuts on the big chart include the two soundtracks from the forthcoming "Dreamgirls" film, Lil Scrappy's latest, Brian McKnight's 10th album and actor/musician Drake Bell's major-label debut ... In Progress Reports, we've got news on Sugarland, Il Divo and the "Billboard Music Awards."




FLASH POINTS

• With her second album, Ciara scores a No. 1 debut on The Billboard 200 with "The Evolution," moving 338,000 in its first week. The set follows her 2004 "Goodies" effort, which started at No. 3 with 125,000. That effort spawned four Billboard Hot 100 hits, including three top five singles -- "Goodies" (No. 1 for seven weeks), "1, 2 Step" (No. 2) and "Oh" (No. 2). On top of that, she was featured on Missy Elliott's smash "Lose Control," Bow Wow's "Like You" and Field Mob's "So What." The girl has been busy ... Now, this year, she came back on her own with "Get Up" from the "Step Up" soundtrack. The single debuted in the late summer and eventually climbed to No. 7 on the Hot 100. "Evolution's" proper first single, the ballad "Promise," is rising on the charts this week. It moves 9-6 on the Urban/Hip-Hop radio chart and is a few weeks away from debuting on the CHR/Top 40 airplay tally. On the Hot 100, it has already hit the top 30. It's her ninth Hot 100 hit in less than two-and-a-half years.

• Last week's No. 1 on the Billboard 200, Incubus' "Light Grenades," drops 65% in sales to No. 37 this week. That's the biggest position drop ever from No. 1. Previously, Marilyn Manson's 2003 album "The Golden Age of Grotesque" held the record for the biggest fall, when it dropped 1-21 in its second week. There is a silver lining here for Incubus -- the band's single "Anna-Molly" rises to No. 1 on the Alternative/Modern Rock radio chart this week. It unseats My Chemical Romance's "Welcome to the Black Parade" after seven weeks at No. 1. It's the third No. 1 for the Incubus following "Drive" (which spent eight weeks atop the chart in 2001) and "Megalomaniac" (which spent six weeks at No. 1 in 2004).


• A year ago, Eminem debuted at No. 1 with "Curtain Call: The Hits," selling 441,000 in its first week. Now this week, the compilation "Eminem Presents the Re-Up," executive produced by the rapper, starts at No. 2 with 309,000. The album, which was compiled by the Alchemist, features Eminem on eight out of 22 tracks, including the single "You Don't Know." The song, which also boasts 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks and Cashis, got moderate airplay at a handful of major-market stations for the week ending Dec. 10, according to Nielsen BDS. It's no surprise that three outlets (WKQI, WJLB and WHTD) in Eminem's home of Detroit were friendly to the tune. On MTV, the videoclip for the song was the sixth-most-played for the week with 16 airings; on MuchMusic, it was ranked No. 3 with 23 plays ... "The Re-Up" also includes a remix of Eminem's "Smack That" hit with Akon -- though the "Re-Up" version removes Em from the equation and replaces him with Stat Quo and Bobby Creekwater. Also on "The Re-Up" is a remix of Em's "Shake That" hit, which appeared first on his "Curtain Call" set. The original version of "Shake That" hit No. 6 on the Hot 100 earlier this year.


• About this time in 2004, Gwen Stefani debuted at No. 7 with her first solo effort, "Love.Angel.Music.Baby.," which sold 309,000 in its first week. Now, her second set, "The Sweet Escape," begins at No. 3 with 243,000. With that debut, it surpasses the peak of "Love," which topped out at No. 5 in the summer of 2005 at the height of "Hollaback Girl" mania ... The new album's first single, "Wind It Up," loses its bullet this week on CHR/Top 40, falling 18-22 in its sixth week on the chart. The single's trajectory almost mirrors that of "What You Waiting For?," the lead track from "Love.Angel.Music.Baby." That song crept to No. 17 in its seventh week on CHR/Top 40 before tumbling to No. 29 the following frame. Two weeks later, her collaboration with Eve on "Rich Girl" debuted on the chart. It would of course climb to No. 4 becoming the album's first big hit ... So, what is the second single from "Sweet Escape" that's waiting in the wings? The title track, which is bubbling under the CHR/Top 40 chart this week, and will likely debut before the end of the month.


• The much-ballyhooed "Dreamgirls" film sees its two soundtrack albums debut at Nos. 20 and 132 on The Billboard 200. The higher ranked of the two is a single-disc highlights set, while the latter is an expanded (and more expensive) two-disc version. The two releases sold 92,000 and 14,000 respectively. The film opens in limited release Dec. 15 and goes wide on Christmas day ... In recent years it hasn't been terribly unusual to see two different editions of a musical soundtrack album reach the charts. Last year, "Rent" spawned two sets, as did "The Phantom of The Opera" in 2004 and "Evita" in 1996 and 1997 ... The concept follows the tradition that Broadway cast recordings established years ago, when labels would release two versions of a show to satisfy two different consumer groups and accommodate economic considerations. There are those that desire the complete cast recording (which often results in a two-CD set) or those that only need the "greatest hits" of a show. Examples of cast recordings in the past that have employed this technique include "The Phantom of the Opera," "Les Miserables," "Rent," "Miss Saigon" and "Jesus Christ Superstar."


• Also debuting on The Billboard 200 this week ... Lil Scrappy's "Bred 2 Die Born 2 Live" at No. 24 with 82,000 units. It also starts at No. 5 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and No. 3 on Top Rap Albums. The album's single, "Money in the Bank," which features Young Buck, rises 18-17 on the Rhythmic Top 40 chart this week ... Brian McKnight returns with his 10th album, appropriately titled "10," which debuts at No. 32 on The Billboard 200. The set, which is his first for Warner Bros. after spending much of his career with Motown, sold 63,000 in its first week. It also opens at No. 4 on Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums. The set's single, "Used to Be My Girl," is already a top 30 hit on the R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and moves 4-3 on the Urban AC chart this week. The album also features a collaboration with country group Rascal Flatts on the song "Red, White and Blue." The set additionally boasts McKnight's "Madea's Family Reunion" hit "Find Myself in You" ... Project Pat's "Crook by Da Book: The Fed Story," starts at No. 64 on The Billboard 200 with 31,000 units. It's the rapper's fifth album to reach the big chart -- his highest charting set so far is 2001's "Mista Don't Play Everythangs Workin'" which debuted at No. 4. On the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums and Top Rap Albums charts, Project Pat's new set debuts at Nos. 10 and 5, respectively ... At No. 81 on The Billboard 200, actor/musician Drake Bell opens with his major-label debut "It's About Time." Bell, best-known for his role in the Nickelodeon TV series "Drake & Josh," also starts at No. 21 on Top Rock Albums. The set was sale-priced at Target for only $6.98 while Circuit City and Wal-Mart also sold it for less than $10.



The Billboard 200

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 New CIARA Ciara: The Evolution (LaFace / Zomba) *11 9 JOSH GROBAN Awake (143 / Reprise / Warner Bros.)
*2 New VARIOUS ARTISTS Eminem Presents: The Re-Up (Shady / Aftermath / Interscope) 12 8 AKON Konvicted (Konvict / Up Front / SRC / Universal Motown / UMRG)
*3 New GWEN STEFANI The Sweet Escape (Interscope ) *13 11 BEYONCE B'Day (Columbia / Sony Music)
*4 2 SOUNDTRACK Hannah Montana (Walt Disney ) 14 10 VARIOUS ARTISTS NOW That's What I Call Christmas! 3 (EMI / Universal / Zomba / Sony BMG Strategic Marketing Group / Sony Music)
*5 4 VARIOUS ARTISTS NOW 23 (Sony BMG Strategic Marketing Group / EMI / Universal / Zomba / Sony Music) 15 6 JAY-Z Kingdom Come (Roc-A-Fella / Def Jam / IDJMG)
*6 16 IL DIVO Siempre (SYCO / Columbia / Sony Music) *16 18 JAMES TAYLOR James Taylor At Christmas (Columbia / Sony Music)
7 3 DAUGHTRY Daughtry (RCA / RMG) *17 17 RASCAL FLATTS Me And My Gang (Lyric Street / Hollywood)
8 5 THE BEATLES Love (Apple / Capitol) *18 15 TONY BENNETT Duets: An American Classic (RPM / Columbia / Sony Music)
*9 7 SARAH MCLACHLAN Wintersong (Arista / RMG) *19 27 FERGIE The Dutchess (will.i.am / A&M / Interscope)
*10 13 CARRIE UNDERWOOD Some Hearts (Arista / Arista Nashville / RMG) *20 New SOUNDTRACK Dreamgirls (Music World / Columbia / Sony Music)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week





MARKET WATCH

• Album units, current chart week: 18.86 million units
• UP 27.8% from last issue's charts: 14.75 million units
• DOWN 1.9% from same week, 2005: 19.22 million units
• This week: The top 15 albums sell more than 100,000 copies.
• This week last year on The Billboard 200: Eminem's "Curtain Call: The Hits" debuted at No. 1 with 441,000. Lil' Wayne and Korn started at Nos. 2 and 3, respectively with 238,000 and 221,000. The top 12 albums each sold more than 100,000 units.



BORDERLINES

• The No. 10 album this week, Carrie Underwood's "Some Hearts" (Arista Nashville), sold 126,000.
• The No. 10 album for the same week of 2005, Enya's "Amarantine" (Reprise/Warner Bros.), sold 139,000.
• Average total of the No. 10 album for the same week of the year during the past 10 years (1997-2006): 153,611.



PROGRESS REPORTS

• After twice peaking at No. 2 on Hot Country Songs, Sugarland finally rings the top bell on the Nielsen BDS-driven chart with "Want To." Sugarland peaked at No. 2 with its first two singles, "Baby Girl" (for two weeks) and "Something More" (five weeks). The duo unseats Rascal Flatts' "My Wish" -- pushed to No. 2 -- by just 66,000 audience impressions. That's the smallest difference separating the top two songs on the chart since the Aug. 27, 2005 chart when 42,400 impressions coincidentally kept Sugarland's "Something More" from overtaking Faith Hill's "Mississippi Girl."

• Following the group's Dec. 6 stop on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," Il Divo sees sales spikes for all of its charting albums. On The Billboard 200, its "Siempre" rises 16-6 with the Greatest Gainer award (166,000 units sold; up 128%) while "Ancora" motors 161-87 with a 174% increase. On Top Pop Catalog Albums, the quartet's "The Christmas Collection" bounds 3-1 with a 199% gain. It also moves 8-2 on Top Holiday Albums. On the Top Classical Crossover Albums chart, Il Divo resides at Nos. 1, 4 and 5.

• Though the ratings were down slightly for Fox's annual "Billboard Music Awards," the Dec. 4 show still attracted nearly 6.1 million viewers for its two hour live broadcast. Most of the performers from the event experience increases for their albums that are larger than the 27.8% uptick of the overall market. Fergie's "The Dutchess" is up 62% at No. 19 while Nickelback (No. 21, up 42%), the Fray (No. 33, up 52%) and Mary J. Blige (No. 134, up 95%) also see gains. Even winners that accepted their trophies on the show but didn't perform also saw some spikes, including the soundtrack of "High School Musical" (No. 27, up 33%), Nelly Furtado (No. 49, up 64%), Chris Brown (No. 98, up 39%), Three Days Grace (No. 106, up 44%) and Kenny Chesney (Nos. 118 and 121, both up more than 30%) ... It would be foolish not to mention both Blige and Underwood figured heavily into the Dec. 7 Grammy Awards nominations announcement, which likely pushed sales, too.





Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 New CIARA Ciara: The Evolution (LaFace / Zomba)
*2 New VARIOUS ARTISTS Eminem Presents: The Re-Up (Shady / Aftermath / Interscope)
3 1 JAY-Z Kingdom Come (Roc-A-Fella / Def Jam / IDJMG)
*4 New BRIAN MCKNIGHT Ten (Warner Bros. )
*5 New LIL SCRAPPY Bred 2 Die - Born 2 Live (BME / G's Up / G-Unit / Reprise / Warner Bros.)
*6 New SOUNDTRACK Dreamgirls (Music World / Columbia / Sony Music)
7 4 AKON Konvicted (Konvict / Up Front / SRC / Universal Motown / UMRG)
*8 5 BEYONCE B'Day (Columbia / Sony Music)
9 3 SNOOP DOGG Tha Blue Carpet Treatment (Doggystyle / Geffen / Interscope)
*10 New PROJECT PAT Crook By Da Book: The Fed Story (Hypnotize Minds / 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 4 SUGARLAND Enjoy The Ride (Mercury / UMGN)
*5 5 GEORGE STRAIT It Just Comes Natural (MCA Nashville / UMGN)
*6 6 JOSH TURNER Your Man (MCA Nashville / UMGN)
*7 7 BRAD PAISLEY Time Well Wasted (Arista Nashville / SBN)
*8 9 RODNEY ATKINS If You're Going Through Hell (Curb )
*9 12 KELLIE PICKLER Small Town Girl (BNA / SBN)
*10 13 ALAN JACKSON Precious Memories (ACR / Arista Nashville / SBN)
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Hot Singles Sales

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 14 BEYONCE Irreplaceable (Columbia )
*2 1 JEFF FOXWORTHY/BILL ENGVALL Redneck 12 Days Of Christmas/Here's Your Sign Christmas (Warner Bros. (Nashville) / WRN)
*3 2 KATHARINE MCPHEE Somewhere Over The Rainbow/My Destiny (RCA / RMG)
*4 3 EAGLES Hole In The World (ERC / 33rd Street)
*5 4 TAYLOR HICKS Do I Make You Proud/Takin' It To The Streets (Arista / RMG)
6 5 THE SHINS Phantom Limb (Sub Pop )
7 6 MADONNA Jump (Warner Bros. )
*8 9 ENYA Oiche Chium (Silent Night) (Reprise )
*9 12 ELTON JOHN Something About The Way.../Candle In The Wind 1997 (Rocket / Island / IDJMG)
*10 8 BEYONCE Ring The Alarm (Columbia )
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Top Heatseekers

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 1 REGINA SPEKTOR Begin To Hope (Sire / Warner Bros.)
*2 4 MAT KEARNEY Nothing Left To Lose (Aware / Columbia / Sony Music)
3 2 VICENTE FERNANDEZ La Tragedia Del Vaquero (Sony BMG Norte )
4 5 ANA GABRIEL La Reina Canta A Mexico (Sony BMG Norte )
5 7 BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE The Poison (Trustkill )
*6 8 NEWSONG The Christmas Hope (Integrity / Columbia / Sony Music)
7 9 THE 101 STRINGS ORCHESTRA Thomas Kinkade: Treasury Of Christmas (Madacy Special Products / Madacy)
8 10 SHINY TOY GUNS We Are Pilots (Universal Motown / UMRG)
9 3 ROCK STAR SUPERNOVA Rock Star Supernova (Burnett / Epic / Sony Music)
10 6 JOANNA NEWSOM Ys (Drag City )
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week
Top Pop Catalog Albums

Sales data provided and compiled from Nielsen SoundScan
*1 3 IL DIVO The Christmas Collection (SYCO / Columbia / Sony Music)
*2 1 TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA The Lost Christmas Eve (Lava / AG)
3 2 VINCE GUARALDI TRIO A Charlie Brown Christmas (Soundtrack) (Fantasy / Concord)
*4 4 LARRY THE CABLE GUY A Very Larry Christmas (Jack / Warner Bros. (Nashville) / WRN)
*5 5 TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA Christmas Eve And Other Stories (Lava / AG)
6 6 FRANK SINATRA, DEAN MARTIN & SAMMY DAVIS JR Christmas With The Rat Pack (Capitol )
*7 7 TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA The Christmas Attic (Lava / AG)
8 8 MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER Christmas Celebration (American Gramaphone )
9 15 STEVEN CURTIS CHAPMAN All I Really Want For Christmas (Sparrow )
10 9 THE CHEETAH GIRLS Cheetah-licious Christmas (Walt Disney )
* indicates titles with greatest sales gains this week




A LOOK AHEAD

• Among the titles released this week, due on next week's charts: Taylor Hicks' self-titled album, Mary J. Blige's "Reflections - A Retrospective," Young Jeezy's "Thug Motivation: Inspiration," Tyrese's "Alter Ego," Ghostface Killah's "More Fish" and Fantasia's "Fantasia."

• Next week's Billboard 200 competes with the same week in 2005 when: Eminem's "Curtain Call: The Hits" remained at No. 1 with 324,000. Bo Bice's "The Real Thing" opened at No. 4 with 227,000 while the Ludacris-presented "Disturbing Tha Peace" compilation started at No. 11 (151,000). The top 25 albums each sold more than 100,000 units.