Fred Bronson reports on the latest chart feats of Clay Aiken, Ludacris, Shawna and Sheryl Crow.

FOR GOOD 'MEASURE': Exactly six months after Kelly Clarkson debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 with "Thankful," "American Idol" finalist Clay Aiken enters the chart in pole position with his first album, "Measure of a Man" (RCA). First season "Idol" winner Clarkson held on to the top spot for just one week, so if his fans are still taking home the Aiken for a second week, the 24-year-old native of Raleigh, N.C., will be the longest-running "Idol" contestant at No. 1 on this tally.

Aiken is one of eight solo male artists to lead the album list in 2003, following 50 Cent, R. Kelly, Marilyn Manson, Luther Vandross, Alan Jackson, John Mayer and Ludacris. Clarkson is one of nine solo female artists to garner top ink. The others are Shania Twain, Norah Jones, Madonna, Monica, Beyonce, Ashanti, Mary J. Blige and Hilary Duff.

If that makes it seem that the women have it over the men in 2003, look again. Compare the number of weeks male artists have been No. 1 to the number of weeks that female artists have dominated, and the men win. Counting solo acts as well as groups, male artists have been No. 1 for 23 weeks, and female artists for 14. Soundtracks and multi-artist albums held the top spot for seven weeks.

'UP' UP, AND AWAY: Atlanta-born rapper Ludacris has two top-10 hits on Billboard's Hot 100, doubling the number of top-10 hits he's collected in a career that stretches back three years and one month.

Ludacris first made the top-10 in 2002 with "Move B***h," which peaked at No. 10. As the featured artist on Missy Elliott's "Gossip Folks," Ludacris had an even bigger hit, sailing to No. 8.

This week, Ludacris stands at No. 2 with "Stand Up" (Disturbing tha Peace/Def Jam South), his biggest hit to date. The single, featuring Shawna, is a contender for No. 1 and is already at the top of the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart.

Ludacris is also No. 7, featured with Snoop Dogg on Chingy's "Holidae In" (Disturbing the Peace/Capitol). And much further down the list, he moves 88-84 as the featured artist on 112's "Hot & Wet" (Bad Boy/Def Soul).

As for Shawna, she has waited just as long as Ludacris for a No. 2 hit. She was featured on Ludacris' first chart entry, "What's Your Fantasy," which reached No. 21 in 2000.

THE SECOND CUT MAY ACTUALLY BE THE DEEPEST: Sheryl Crow makes her second appearance on Billboard's Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart, with the No. 57 debut of her remake of a Cat Stevens song, "The First Cut Is the Deepest" (A&M).

One year and three weeks ago, Crow made her first appearance on this country chart by also debuting at No. 57 with "Picture," the Kid Rock single that featured Crow or Allison Moorer. "Picture" peaked at No. 21 the week of April 26.