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Next week, look for J/Syco Music’s X Factor, Leona Lewis’ Spirit, to top the chart.
STRAIT TO THE TOP!
R.E.M., Trina Debut in Top 10; Van Morrison, Stones, George Michael, Sevendust Top 20
By George, he’s got it.

MCA Nashville country star George Strait scores yet another #1 album as his latest, Troubadour, bows on top with 168k in sales.

Chalk another one up for Universal Nashville boss Luke Lewis, whose cool hand heats up the charts. He also has a new Van Morrison album on Lost Highway, Keep It Simple, bowing at #11.

Warner Bros. alterna-rock icons R.E.M. grab the silver with a #2 debut for their latest, return-to-rock effort, Accelerate, scoring 109k.

SBMG/Commercial Music Group’s Now 27 remains strong at #3, followed by the week’s biggest gainer, Razor & Tie’s Alvin & the Chipmunks soundtrack, which goes #19-4, +142%, good for #4, revitalized by the DVD release.

Two Bad Boy/Atlantic releases are next, including last week’s chart-topper, Day26, which loses a whopping 77% of its audience at #5, and Danity Kane, now #6.

Slip-N-Slide/EMI rapper Trina is Still Da Baddest with a #7 bow, while Geffen’s Counting Crows (#8), Def Jam/IDJ’s Rick Ross (#9) and Decaydance/Fueled by Ramen’s Panic at the Disco (#10) round out the Top 10.

Morrison leads a group of chart newcomers that includes Interscope’s Rolling Stones Shine a Light soundtrack (#12), Epic’s George Michael Twenty Five best of (#14), Asylum/Atlantic’s Sevendust (#16), Roadrunner’s Theory of a Deadman (#25), Mute’s Moby (#26), Nonesuch’s Black Keys (#29), Koch’s In Flames (#31), Lyric Street’s Josh Gracin (#35) and Island/IDJ’s Fall Out Boy Live in Phoenix (#36).

Arista/RMG’s Carrie Underwood leads the rest of the double-digit gainers at #39, +22%. Also gaining are Eleven Seven Music’s Buckcherry (#49, +17%), Jive/ZLG’s Chris Brown (#37, +16%), Disney’s Hannah Montana 2 (#28, +14%), Jive/ZLG’s Jordin Sparks (#32, +14%) and Island/IDJ’s Janet Jackson (#43, +13%).

Next week, look for J/Syco Music’s X Factor, Leona LewisSpirit, to top the chart, with Integrity/Columbia’s P.O.D., Null Corp./RED’s NIN, Island/IDJ’s Ashes Divide and Hollywood’s Marie Digby also eyeing Top 50 debuts.

And then, on April 15, it’s all about a windfall named Mariah.

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