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As I Am looks like it will easily top next week’s HITS sales chart, boasting a total that appears as if it could hit 550k.
KEYS UNLOCKS THE CHART TO #1
J Diva’s As I Am Proving Strong Out of the Box, Celine Dion, Now 26 Trail
“No One” does it better than Alicia Keys.

The nine-time Grammy-winning songstress is at it again, with her eagerly anticipated third J/RMG album, As I Am, looking like it will easily top next week’s HITS sales chart, boasting a total that appears as if it could hit 550k, according to those retailers not too shell-shocked to see records actually selling to take our call.

That would top the week’s other major diva release, Celine Dion’s Columbia bow, Taking Chances, which is looking like 250k and maybe more, with plenty of frontloaded TV for the Las Vegas star’s first new English language album since 2003’s One Heart.

That hits compilation perennial, Now 26, this time on EMI, follows with a debut of 200k, showing signs of wear from iTunes’ ability to cherry-pick the hits.

Rhino’s two-CD Led Zeppelin compilation, Mothership, arrives, hot on the heels of the band’s much-ballyhooed reunion next month, and could hit six figures.

MCA Nashville country legend George Strait is up next, with 60-70k for his latest, 22 More Hits, working the momentum of his recent CMA appearance.

Island/IDJ’s The Killers come next with Sawdust, a collection of rarities and B-sides, which could do around 50-60k.

Hear Music/Concord’s James Taylor will also be in the mix with 35-40k, a total that will include a majority of Starbucks sales.

Warner Bros.Seal is up next, with a debut that looks to be in the 30-35k for his latest, System, his first since 2003’s Seal IV.

Meanwhile, Reprise’s Josh Groban is catching fire with his holiday-themed Noel, which has been out six weeks, and will be a contender for next week’s Top 5, with a total that could surpass 200k.

Thanks to the CMA effect, the market was up 7.6% vs last week, down 16.8% vs same week last year and now down 14.5% year-to-date.

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