Pop superstar Michael Bolton had been expected to debut at the top of the album sales chart this week with his new Columbia project, “One Thing,” but two things stood in his way: Pearl Jam, which maintains an ever-thinning hold on the top spot, and Frank Sinatra, whose “Duets” collection is one of the year’s most surprising successes.

Bolton’s album, his sixth, sold more than 148,000 copies in its first week for a No. 3 bow, according to SoundScan figures obtained from a record industry source.

His last two projects debuted at No. 1.

Pearl Jam’s sophomore Epic release “Vs.” moved another 189,000 units for the period, keeping the album in the top spot for the fifth straight week. The first album from controversial rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg, “Doggy Style,” is expected to snare the chart crown from the Seattle rockers next week. That title shipped a reported 1 million copies to retailers.

Holding at No. 2 for the third week is Sinatra’s Capitol Records homecoming, “Duets,” which sold nearly 168,000 copies. Two cuts from the album, one featuring U2 singer Bono and one guesting Barbra Streisand, have been released as singles in the last two weeks.

Also premiering this week is the final MCA release from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, “Greatest Hits,” which sold almost 94,000 copies, good enough for No. 8. Petty and band now segue to Warner Bros.with a label bow due in 1994.

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