Usher's sales slip below 200,000

Avril Lavigne nabbed her first No. 1 album as “Under My Skin” debuted at the top of the nation’s album sales chart for the week ended Sunday, according to SoundScan.

Lavigne, whose 2002 debut “Let Go” reached No. 2 and has sold 6.1 million copies, saw her sophomore disc sell 380,000 copies in the week, besting second-place finisher Slipknot’s “Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses” (Roadrunner). The masked hard rockers moved 243,000 copies of their third disc.

Usher registered his first week of selling fewer than 200,000 copies of “Confessions,” as it slid to No. 3 on sales of 197,000.

While Gretchen Wilson’s “Here for the Party” (Epic) held strong at No. 4, slipping just 13,000 to 125,000, Prince returned to the top 10 and the “Shrek 2″ soundtrack made its first appearance in the single digits. The DreamWorks release for the toon sequel is up to No. 9 on sales of 70,000, a rise of nearly 17,000 from the prior week.

Prince had two Southern California concerts, where his “Musicology” disc was given to each concertgoer, to bolster his total; the album registered sales of 72,000. Album’s cume is 703,000, about 25% of which comes from discs handed out at shows. Nielsen SoundScan, which counts each disc given out as a sale, has amended its rules for any acts that intend to do a similar giveaway/sale: Patrons must be offered two ticket prices, one that includes the CD and a lower price that doesn’t.

Lonestar’s “Let’s Be Us Again” (BNA) debuted at No. 14 on sales of 53,000. Former “American Idol” contestant Tamyra Gray debuted at No. 23 as her 19 Recordings debut, “Dreamer,” sold 39,000. LaShell Griffin, winner of the “Oprah Pop Star Challenge,” debuted this week at No. 166, selling 7,300 copies of “Free” (Epic).

Biggest gainer was George Michael’s “Patience” (Epic), which shot up 17 slots to No. 12 after his appearance on “Oprah.” Disc sold 61,000 copies in its second sesh.

Wilson Phillips, on the comeback trail with their first album in a dozen years, hit No. 35 as “California” sold 31,000 copies.

Among other debuts: Country crooner Julie Roberts saw her self-titled debut on Mercury Nashville sell 24,000 units; rapper Everlast’s first album in four years, “White Trash Beautiful” (Island Def Jam), sold 20,000; gospel act Selah’s “Hiding Place” (Curb) sold 19,000; John Williams’ score to “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” (Warner Sunset/Nonesuch/Atlantic) moved 18,000; and Rhino’s “Rockin’ the Rhein With the Grateful Dead,” a 1972 concert recording, sold 14,000.

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