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"50 Cent and Norah Jones continue to sell strongly, but I’m also hyped about the boost that the Chicago soundtrack and Eminem’s two albums got from Oscar night. I’m looking forward to seeing strong sales on all of them this week."
——Virgin Entertainment Group’s Jerry Suarez
50 KEEPS MAKING CENT
Next Week, Look for Major Action as Linkin Park and Celine Dion Hit the Charts
This week’s HITS album chart is the same as it ever was. And until next week, when a couple of big-timers bow at the top, life during wartime in the Top 50 is still all about Shady/Aftermath/Interscope rapper 50 Cent and Blue Note Grammy girl Norah Jones. (In an effort to do as little work as humanly possible, we’re inserting entire sections from last week’s story and adjusting the numbers. No need to thank us.)

Meanwhile, we rely on the wisdom of Virgin Entertainment Group’s Jerry Suarez to fill up even more white space: "50 Cent and Norah Jones continue to sell strongly, but I’m also hyped about the boost that the Chicago soundtrack and Eminem’s two albums got from Oscar night. I’m looking forward to seeing strong sales on all of them this week."

Epic/Sony Music Soundtrax’s Chicago went 6-4 this week, while surprise "Best Song" winner Eminem saw two of his albums surge. The Eminem Show went 17-10 with a 12% boost, less than 30 copies ahead of the surging 8 Mile soundtrack, which soared 38-11 with a 62% boost after the DVD of the movie earned $75 million at retail.

Also in the Top 10 are Jive’s R. Kelly (#3), Wind-up Daredevil rockers Evanescence (holding strong at #5), Lava/Atlantic’s Kid Rock (#6), Open Wide/Monument-Columbia Presidential critics Dixie Chicks (#7, but off a whopping 43% among right-wingers and warmongers), Elektra gun-running rapper Fabolous (#8) and still-growing VP/Atlantic/Atl G dancehall sensation Sean Paul (#9).

Speaking of growth, Epic/Interscope’s Audioslave is proving to be a force to be reckoned with, as it goes 19-14, powered by radio and MTV play.

This week’s chart newcomers include Volcano/Jive’s (hed) Planet Earth (#24), Sanctuary’s Allman Brothers Band (#26), Warner Bros. rockers Trapt (#35), Arista Nashville country gal Deana Carter (#44) and SideOneDummy’s Atticus: Dragging the Lake II compilation (#50).

DreamWorksThe All-American Rejects went 36-21 with an 11% increase, while Warner Bros.’ rap-rockers Linkin Park and Epic Vegas diva Celine Dion get set to make big chart splashes next week.

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