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Music’s Christmas cheer

Sales spike as 'Idol's' Ruben takes top spot

This article was updated at 4:30 p.m.

Spell Christmas with a J this year. Clive Davis’ J Records not only has the top two albums on the nation’s music sales charts, but Rod Stewart’s “Great American Songbook Vol. 2” nearly doubled its holiday take from the week before.

Ruben Studdard, the burly winner of the second “American Idol” competition, sold 416,000 copies of his debut “Soulful” to take the No. 1 spot. Last week’s No. 1, “The Diary of Alicia Keys,” sold 342,000 copies, a 45% slide from her opening stanza. Keys’ sophomore effort is just shy of 1 million sold.

Among the various “Idols,” Studdard had the second best opening, trailing only the 612,000 sales posted by Clay Aiken’s “Measure of a Man” on J’s sister label RCA. Aiken’s disc holds steady at No. 11 with a sales spike of 35,000 units to 157,000.

Seasonal cheer

Twenty-seven of the top 30 albums saw holiday-driven sales increases for the week, with only Keys, Jay-Z’s “Black Album,” G-Unit’s “Beg for Mercy” and 2Pac’s “Resurrection” falling. Among the risers were “Now That’s What I Call Music Vol. 14,” up 75,000 to 261,000 and No. 3; Toby Keith’s “Shock’n Y’all” (DreamWorks), up 32,000 to 245,000 and No. 4; Josh Groban’s “Closer” (Warner), up 50,000 to 237,000; and Outkast’s “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below” (La Face/Arista), up 37,000 to 215,000.

Debuts includes Musiq at No. 13 as the singer’s “Soulstar” (Def Jam) sold 156,000 copies; “Terrorist Threats” from Ice Cube’s Westside Connection did 136,000 in sales to hit No. 16; Avant’s “Private Room” (Geffen) did 128,000 in sales to take No. 18; rappers Big Tymers’ “Big Money Heavy” (Cash Money/Universal) took No. 21 on sales of 116,000; Kellis’ “Tasty” (Arista) popped in at 27, selling 93,000; and rockers the Offspring came in at No. 30, selling 88,000 of their Columbia disc “Splinter.”

Stewart’s holiday haul

Stewart’s second edition of standards saw a sales spike of 93,000 units to put him at 204,000 for the week and No. 7. His first volume saw a 26,000 sales increase to take it to 63,000 for the week.

The year’s deficit from last year is now at 4.7%; for CDs only, the slide is 3%. Total album sales are up 29.7% from last week and down about a half a point compared to the same week last year. Against last year’s comparable week, top-25 sales are down 12%, while top-200 sales are down about 3%.

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