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WEEK IN PREVIEW: GRETCHEN WILSON EDGING USHER
Looks Like Country-Pop Trumps R&B This Week, as Eightball & M.J.G. Vie with D12 for #3
Going in to the weekend, it looked like wrong-side-o’-the-tracks country vixen Gretchen Wilson’s Here for the Party (Epic/Sony Nashville) was on track to sneak past chart-dominator Usher’s Confessions (LaFace/ZLG) for #1 on this week’s chart. Coming out of the weekend, Wilson’s projected first-week tally of over 220k still looks like a winner.

But, of course, as the reports continue to come in and the numbers receive their usual five-star spa massage, that prediction could still change. From this vantage point, however, the tea leaves read: tough-gal country #1, hard-body R&B #2.

At #3 will be either chart newcomer Eightball & M.J.G.’s Living Legends (Bad Boy/Universal) or D12’s D12 World (Shady/Interscope), though that contest is still too close to call. Each album should log about 115k for the week.

Meanwhile, Teena Marie’s La Dona (Universal) continues to look like it will make its chart debut with surprisingly strong first-week sales of 100k. Hoobastank’s The Reason (Island/IDJ) could also be making a Top Five move, holding nearly flat at around 90k in a week that will see the market as a whole dip by double digits following the usual Mother’s Day lift.

Also look for Killswitch Engage’s The End of Heartache (Roadrunner/IDJ) to come on the chart with a hard-rocking first-week number on the order of 50k.

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