Eminem Holds At No. 1 With 871K

Destiny's Child scores 497K.

Despite a strong challenge from the new album by Destiny's Child, Eminem's "Encore" (Shady/Aftermath/Interscope) remains the No. 1 title on The Billboard 200 following its first full week of availability. The set scores U.S. sales of 871,000 units, according to Nielsen SoundScan. This is a 22% increase over last week, when "Encore" bowed at No. 1 after being officially released on a Friday.

At 1.6 million units total, "Encore" ties the two-week total of 2002's "The Eminem Show," which also debuted at No. 1 after a shortened sales week and remained there after its first full sales week.

A 713% sales increase to 497,000 units propels Destiny's Child to No. 2 with "Destiny Fulfilled" (Sony Urban Music/Columbia). Sales from street-date violations and after the official off-cycle Nov. 15 release amounted to 61,000 units last week, putting the album at No. 19.

In 2001, Destiny's Child's "Survivor" opened at No. 1 with 663,000 copies; that set has sold 4.2 million to date.

Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz post a career-high sales week, with an 841% jump from last week to 363,000, pushing "Crunk Juice" (TVT) 31-3 on the chart. Last week's premature bow put the set at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Independent Albums chart, where it stays for a second week. The group's "Kings of Crunk" opened at No. 15 in 2002 with 71,000 units and has sold 2.2 million to date.

Clay Aiken opens at No. 4 with "Merry Christmas With Love" (RCA). Its sales of 270,000 copies mark the biggest debut week of any holiday album in the SoundScan era, which began in 1991. Last year, Aiken debuted at No. 1 with his first album, "Measure of a Man," on sales of 613,000 copies; that set has sold 2.6 million to date.

Snoop Dogg opens at No. 6 with "R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece" (Doggy Style/Geffen/Star Trax). The set moves 225,000 units, a healthy improvement over 2002's "Paid tha Cost to Be da Bo$$" (Doggy Style/Priority/Capitol), which opened at No. 12 with 174,000 and has sold 1.2 million to date. First single "Drop It Like It's Hot" featuring Pharrell holds at No. 1 on Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks, Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay and Hot Rap Tracks charts.

A pair of country compilations take a tumble in their second weeks, as Shania Twain's "Greatest Hits" (Mercury Nashville) falls 2-5 on a 55% dip to 232,000 and Toby Keith's "Greatest Hits 2" (DreamWorks Nashville/Interscope) slides 3-7 on a 49% drop to 221,000.

The 17th installment of "NOW That's What I Call Music!" (Sony BMG/Universal/EMI/Zomba/Capitol) takes a three-slot dive to No. 8 on an 18% drop to 190,000 copies. Usher's "Confessions" (LaFace/Zomba) falls 8-9 despite at 20% rise in sales to 130,000.

Rapper Chingy skyrockets 172-10 with his sophomore Capitol release, "Powerballin'." Street date violations caused an early debut last week with 7,000 copies, leading to a 1,545% jump to full-week sales of 120,000. The rapper's 2003 debut, "Jackpot," started out slightly higher at No. 2 with 157,000 copies; it has since sold 2.8 million.

Pearl Jam earns a top 20 debut with the last release under its Epic deal, "rearviewmirror: greatest hits 1991-2003." The two-disc collection enters at No. 16 with 83,000 copies. Last year's rarities compilation, "Lost Dogs," opened at No. 15 with 90,000.

Top 50 debuts this week include Neil Young's Warner Bros. "Greatest Hits" (No. 27, 51,000), the Beatles boxed set "The Capitol Albums Vol. 1" (No. 35, 37,000), Sony's "Themeaddict: WWE, Vol. 6" soundtrack (No. 38, 36,000) and Larry The Cable Guy's Warner Bros. release "A Very Larry Christmas" (No. 43, 33,000).

The five-disc Bon Jovi boxed set "100,000,000 Bon Jovi Fans Can't Be Wrong" (Island) lands at No. 53 on sales of 28,000.

At 15.3 million units, overall U.S album sales are up about 10% over last week, but are down 8% from the comparable week last year. Sales for the year to date are up about 3% at 546 million units.


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