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The big man appears to be on track for sales approaching the 400k mark. Keys is looking like she’ll sell over 300k in her second week out.

WEEK IN PREVIEW: RUBEN EATING THEIR LUNCH

Alicia Keys Will Be Right Behind at #2, Musiq Also Debuting Strong
It ain’t over till the fat lady sings, but around here she’s warming up her voice. On the final HITS Album chart of the year, American Idol winner Ruben Studdard will be #1 and  J Records labelmate Alicia Keys will be #2. The big man appears to be on track for sales approaching the 400k mark. Keys is looking like she’ll sell over 300k in her second week out. Of course, you’re probably looking to getting out of the office for the holidays, so pretend to care just a little bit.

The week’s other high debut is from Def Jam/IDJ’s Musiq, who should hit 200k. While you’re looking ahead the final chart, and the chance to spend a couple of weeks sitting somewhere else and not doing work, you can anticipate numbers over 100k for three other debuts: Capitol’s Westside Connection and Cash Money/Universal’s Big Tymers both at around 125k and Geffen’s Avant right at 100k. Debuting just behind that trio will be StarTrak/Arista’s Kelis, Columbia’s Offspring and Island/IDJ’s Hoobastank.

Our retail geniuses will be eating cookies and drinking eggnog until all of the numbers are carefully calculated. Unless the cookies are really good, in which case they’ll throw a dart at the magical album sales number dartboard and head down to the HITS Christmas party—which is being held in our parking garage.

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