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The big news is the Neil Diamond album, which is up more than 200%, thanks to his appearance on Oprah last week, with sales looking in the 22k range from barely over 7k last week.

ALBUM RACE STILL
TOO CLOSE TO CALL

Mary J. Blige, Jamie Foxx Running Neck and Neck, Neil Diamond Shows Big Surge Thanks to Oprah
As we head into the final stretch of the HITS Album chart race, Mary J. Blige and Jamie Foxx are still neck-and-neck for the #1 spot, which is too close to call at this point, according to our crack retail department. Both are headed for sales totals in the mid-90's, which means there will be no album to crack the 100k mark this week. 

And a happy new year to you, too. As our esteemed Professor of Chartology, Scratch Golfer and Sometime Editor-in-Chief Lenny Beer likes to say, there will be 10 records in the Top 10 this week. Barely.

The big news is the Neil Diamond album, 12 Songs, which is up more than 200%, thanks to his appearance on Oprah last week, with sales looking in the 22k range from barely over 7k last week. The Rick Rubin-produced "comeback" had been hurt by Sony BMG's "Rootkit" controversy when the album was released with copy-protection that planted spyware on your computer when you tried to play it. That Winfrey lady can apparently sell records as well as books. Another veteran act, Johnny Cash, benefited from Golden Globes exposure for the movie Walk the Line (which earned Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon acting honors) as Legend moves up to #5, with an approximately 57k sold. Custard/Atlantic's red-hot British newcomer James Blunt is also showing strength, leaping into the Top 10 with 40k, thanks to the smash, "You're Beautiful," airing on a current TV commercial.

Here is how the HITS chart is shaping up as of 9 a.m. this morning Pacific Standard Time. As always, keep checking our rolling sales tally on the site to make sure you are abreast (love that word) of the most current results, and can astound your superiors with your intimate (nice word) knowledge of retail sales trends. Just remember, no betting.

1. Mary J.: 92-95k
2. Foxx: 92-95k
3. Carrie Underwood: 73k
4. Eminem: 72k
5. Johnny Cash: 57k
6. Nickelback: 49k
7. Chris Brown: 47k
8. Notorious B.I.G.: 42k
9. James Blunt: 40k
10. Kelly Clarkson: 38k
   Black Eyed Peas: 38k

Remember, these are only preliminary figures. If they're wrong, don't blame us. Even if everybody else does.

NEAR TRUTHS: THE KYNCL-LOUSADA DANCE HAS BEGUN
This oughta be interesting... (9/28a)
GRAMMY CHEW:
RAP EDITION
Michael and Kyle find a feast of hip-hop to chew on. (9/28a)
VAUGHN SIGNALS NEW START AT COLUMBIA
Look who's just resurfaced. (9/28a)
RIHANNA SCORES
SUPER BOWL GIG
Vegas already handicapping the setlist. (9/28a)
TAYLOR, TIKTOK AND TRACK 6
A new wrinkle to her self-marketing plan (9/28a)
GRAMMY SEASON
New categories! New rules! New WTF!
THE BIG DEAL
It's the one you didn't see coming.
RAID AT MAR-A-LAGO
"Who took my passports?"
HITS' 36TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL
Allow us to apologize in advance.
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