Shania Twain was the stocking-stuffer of choice over the Thanksgiving week. Kelly Osbourne, on the other hand, got into the holiday spirit by playing the turkey.
In what was one of the year's most competitive sales weeks, country music ruled the roost as Twain's Up! held the top spot, relegating Tim McGraw's Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors to runner-up status.
For the week ended Sunday (and the official start of the Yuletide shopping season), Twain sold 626,000 copies versus McGraw's 602,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan numbers. That put Shania's two-week tally over 1.5 million, while McGraw's monster debut bests the first-week sales of his last two albums combined.
Though playing second fiddle to Shania, McGraw now ranks behind only Garth Brooks for the best opening week by a male country artist. McGraw even outperformed Alan Jackson, who topped the charts earlier this year selling 423,000 copies of Drive. Among all 2002 country releases, McGraw's first-week sales lands third behind Shania and the Dixie Chicks' Home. He also scores family bragging rights, outdueling better half Faith Hill, whose Cry moved 472,000 copies upon its debut in October.
Coincidentally, McGraw and Hill had back-to-back NBC television specials airing Thanksgiving eve and Thanksgiving night. For reasons any teen male could easily explain, more people tuned into Hill's Turkey Day special, which drew 11.3 million viewers to McGraw's 10 million the night before. Hill's special gave a huge boost to Cry, propelling the CD eight spots and 90,000 copies over the previous week. Cry finished at number seven with 230,000.
Tupac Shakur's fifth posthumous album, Better Dayz, debuted at number five with 366,000 copies, down considerably from his previous chart-topping bow. Jennifer Lopez, who also topped the charts last time around, opened at six with This Is Me...Then selling 314,000 copies--the best first-week sales of her career.
It's getting better for recent TV Guide coverboy Paul McCartney, whose double-disc live album Back in the U.S. easily outsold his last studio release, moving 224,000 copies at number eight.
In keeping with the Thanksgiving theme, the rest of the Top 10 were leftovers: the 8 Mile soundtrack at three, Now That's What I Call Music! 11 at four, Avril Lavigne's Let Go at nine, and Christina Aguilera's Stripped in the 10 spot.
Meanwhile, both Snoop Dogg and System of a Down failed to crack the Top 10 with their new releases. Snoop's Paid Tha Cost to Be Da Bo$$ sold 174,000 copies to open at number 12, while System's Steal This Album! moved a mere 167,000 copies at 15.
Elsewhere, Dru Hill's first album in four years, Dru World Order, opened at 21, Cash Money newcomer Baby popped out at 24 with Birdman, Philly rap crew the Roots landed at 28 with Phrenology, and Canadian punks Sum 41 bowed at 32 with Does This Look Infected? while Busta Rhymes' J Records' debut, It Ain't Safe No More, just missed the Top 40, selling a disappointing 62,000 copies at 43.
By far, the week's biggest bomb belonged to Kelly Osbourne. Her debut album, Shut Up, made very little noise on the chart, selling fewer than 20,000 copies at 101, the lowest of the major debuts last week. (We're just hoping MTV's cameras catch her reaction.)
Here's a recap of the Top 10 albums for the week ended Sunday:
1. Up!, Shania Twain
2. Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors, Tim McGraw
3. 8 Mile soundtrack, various
4. Now That's What I Call Music! 11, various
5. Better Dayz, 2Pac
6. This Is Me...Then, Jennifer Lopez
7. Cry , Faith Hill
8. Back in the U.S., Paul McCartney
9. Let Go, Avril Lavigne
10. Stripped, Christina Aguilera