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The best guess for the top of the chart is High School Musical, which continues to build, juiced by repeated airings on the Disney Channel.

ONE-DAY SALES: A SOFT WEEK FOR DEBUTS SHAPING UP

…But High School Musical and James Blunt Keep Getting Bigger and Bigger
At music retail, this is not a week for the ages, kiddies. Warner Bros. rapper E-40, who presently appears to be the highest-charting debut on next week’s album chart, will probably wind up shy of 100k. That will still probably put it in the Top 5 considering that this is shaping up to be a truly dismal week. In that sense, a #1 bow, though not likely, isn’t out of the question.

Of the incumbents, the best guess for the top of the chart is High School Musical (Walt Disney Records), which continues to build, juiced by repeated airings on the Disney Channel. That said, Custard/Atlantic crooner James Blunt can’t be counted out, considering that (A) he's coming off an Oprah bump, (B) he has retail circular action this week and (C) Back to Bedlam is now on Starbucks counters.

Island’s limited-edition release of Fall Out Boy’s breakthrough 2005 album could push it back into the Top 20; it was #42 last week with 23k sold. Could it hit the Top 10? We wouldn’t rule it out, not in a week like this one.

Probable Top 30 debuts include Steely Dan co-auteur Donald Fagen’s Morph the Cat (Reprise) and Lyric Street/Hollywood cowgirls SHEdaisy. Behind those two is Geffen’s soundtrack to Dave Chappelle's Block Party, which should finish at 20k, plus or minus. We don’t usually go this deep, folks, but we’ve got space to fill and not a lot of records to fill it with.

That’s the little picture, so to speak. As for the big picture (if you wanna call it that), according to our research, the market looked down a couple of points vs. last week, and more or less flat against the same week of 2005. Year-to-date, we’re still off last year’s dispiriting pace by 2- 3%.

HITS LIST: AMPERSANDS
Dynamic duos (12/3a)
TAYLOR'S TREMENDOUS YEAR
She'd make one helluva CEO. (12/3a)
THEY CALL THE WINDFALL MARIAH (HOLIDAY EDITION)
Ch-chingle bells (12/3a)
SONG REVENUE:
BOWS OF HOLLY
Adele is money. (12/3a)
UTA MUSIC EXPANDS IN NASHVILLE
Reshuffling the deck (12/3a)
CHESTNUTS
Roasting.
STOCKINGS
Stuffing.
PIPERS
Piping.
SANTA
Coming.
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