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Alicia’s ‘Diary’ nabs Xmas week No. 1

Toby Keith album a close second
/ Source: Billboard

“The Diary of Alicia Keys” returned to the top of the U.S. pop album charts in the last full week before Christmas, shutting out Toby Keith’s latest release by fewer than 400 copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan data issued Wednesday.

Keys’ sophomore J Records release sold 369,861 copies in the week ended Dec. 21, an 8% percent boost over the previous week when it ranked No. 2. The album’s three-week total rose to 1.33 million copies.

Keith’s “Shock’n Y’all” (DreamWorks) rose two places to No. 2 on a 51% gain to 369,480 copies. The album has moved more than 1.96 million copies to date after seven weeks.

Not everyone enjoyed the Christmas bonanza. Incumbent champ, “American Idol” winner Ruben Studdard’s “Soulful” (J), tumbled seven places to No. 8 in its second week as sales slid 41% to 245,000 copies. its total rose to 662,000 copies.

The 14th volume in the “NOW That’s What I Call Music!” series (Universal/EMI/Zomba/Sony) held steady at No. 3, up 35% to 354,000 units in its seventh week. The hits pcakgae has sold 1.7 million copies to date.

OutKast’s Grammy-nominated opus “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” (Arista) rose two places to No. 4, up 55% to 335,000, bringing its 13-week total to 2.7 million.

Josh Groban’s “Closer” (Warner Bros.) held at No. 5 on a 33% gain to 318,000 units in its sixth week, while Hilary Duff’s former chart-topper “Metamorphosis” (Buena Vista) moved up two places to No. 6 on a 36% jump to 275,000 copies after 17 weeks. Their respective totals rose to 1.5 million and 2.2 million.

“The Very Best of Sheryl Crow” (A&M) was also up two places, to No. 7, as sales surged 53% to 266,000. The hits set has sold 1.2 million copies after seven weeks.

Rounding out the top-10, No Doubt’s “The Singles 1992-2003” (Interscope) climbed three rungs to No. 9 on a 50% gain to 235,000 copies. It has sold 792,000 copies after four weeks.

Rod Stewart’s “As Time Goes By ... The Great American Songbook Vol. 2” (J) dipped three places to No. 10 despite an 8% sales swing to 222,000 copies. The crooner’s standards collection has sold 1.3 million copies after nine weeks.

This week’s top debut was Joe’s “And Then...” (Jive) at No. 26, followed by Memphis Bleek’s “M.A.D.E.” (Roc-A-Fella/Def Jam) at No. 35. Farther down, Wu-Tang Clan rapper Raekwon opened at No. 102 with “The Lex Diamond Story” (Universal).