Eminem Thankful To Remain No. 1

Despite a strong challenge from the latest album from R&B powerhouse Destiny's Child, Eminem's "Encore" remains the No. 1 title on The Billboard 200 following its first full week of retail availab

Despite a strong challenge from the latest album from R&B powerhouse Destiny's Child, Eminem's "Encore" remains the No. 1 title on The Billboard 200 following its first full week of retail availability. The set earns its second week on top with sales of 871,000 U.S. copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan, a 22% increase over the previous week's sales.

The Shady/Aftermath/Interscope set bowed last week at No. 1 after being officially released on a Friday, rather than the traditional Tuesday, to combat piracy.

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

An enormous 713% sales increase to 497,000 copies propels Destiny's Child to the No. 2 spot with "Destiny Fulfilled" (Sony Urban Music/Columbia). Early sales of 61,000 units before the official off-cycle Nov. 15 release date put the trio's first album in three years on the chart at No. 19 last week.

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

Lil Jon & the East Side Boyz posted a career high sales week with an 841% jump to 363,000, pushing "Crunk Juice" (TVT) 31-3 on the chart. Last week's premature bow also 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 in the fourth slot with "Merry Christmas With Love" (RCA). Its sales of 270,000 copies marks the biggest debut week of any holiday album in the SoundScan era, which began in 1991. Last year, the "American Idol" season two runner-up debuted at No. 1 with his first album, "Measure of a Man," on sales of 613,000 copies; the set has sold 2.6 million to date.

Snoop Dogg debuts at No. 6 with "R&G (Rhythm & Gangsta): The Masterpiece" (Doggy Style/Geffen/Star Trax). The set moved 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 copies and has sold 1.2 million to date.

The album's first single, "Drop It Like It's Hot" featuring Pharrell, continues to hold the No. 1 post on Billboard's 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, while Usher's "Confessions" (LaFace/Zomba) falls 8-9 despite at 20% rise in sales to 130,000.

Rapper Chingy skyrockets 172-10 this week with his sophomore Capitol release, "Powerballin'." Street date violations caused an early debut last week with just 7,000 copies sold, 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 deal with Epic, "rearviewmirror: greatest hits 1991-2003." The double-disc collection enters at No. 16 with sales of 83,000 copies. Last year's rarities compilation, "Lost Dogs," opened at No. 15 with 90,000 copies and has a to-date total of 329,000.

Top 50 debuts this week include Neil Young's Warner Bros. "Greatest Hits" (No. 27, 51,000), the Beatles' box 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 box 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 were up about 10% over the previous week, but about 8% down from the same week last year. Sales for 2004 remain ahead of 2003 by about 3% at 546 million units.