Canadian teen popster Avril Lavigne takes the No. 1 slot of The Billboard 200 this week with her sophomore effort "Under My Skin." The Arista set opens with 381,000 U.S. copies sold after a 21-date pr

Canadian teen popster Avril Lavigne takes the No. 1 slot of The Billboard 200 this week with her sophomore effort "Under My Skin." The Arista set opens with 381,000 U.S. copies sold after a 21-date promotional mall tour in March. Lavigne's 2002 debut "Let Go" bowed at No. 8 with just 62,000 copies, but climbed to No. 2 and has since sold 6.1 million copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan.

Lavigne topples Usher's "Confessions" from its eight-week reign at the chart peak. With an 8% dip in sales this week, the LaFace/Zomba set drops to No. 3, with 3.8 million copies sold to date.

Also moving in on Usher, alt-metal group Slipknot debuts at No. 2 with its third studio album "Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses." With 243,000 copies sold, the Roadrunner set beats the first-week chart showing of the band's previous album "Iowa," which opened at No. 3 in 2001 with 255,000 copies and has sold 885,000 to date.

"Musicology" (Columbia), which Prince is giving away to ticket holders on his current tour, shoots 16-8 this week with a 41% increase in sales. This number includes copies given to fans at two major-venue Southern California dates during the tracking week ending May 26. With a 30% increase, Geffen's "Shrek 2" soundtrack also jumps into the top 10 (12-9), with 70,000 copies.

Lonestar's fifth studio effort, "Let's Be Us Again" (BNA), enters the chart in the No. 14 slot on 54,000 copies sold. The Texas natives' "I'm Already There" opened at No. 9 with 112,000 copies in 2001, while last year's greatest-hits compilation bowed with 86,000 copies at No. 7.

Taking his turn on the "The Oprah Winfrey Show" couch, George Michael grabs this week's Greatest Gainer honors with his Epic album "Patience." Following the trend of recent Winfrey guests Wynonna Judd and Lionel Richie, Michael jumps 29-12 this week with a 72% sales spike to 62,000 copies.

Overall U.S. album sales are up 9% to 11.5 million, about 11% ahead of the comparable week last year. Sales for the year are edging out those of 2003 by 7.7%.

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