Singer scores her first No. 1 debut

The crucial task in making a duets album is picking the right partners. Reba McEntire went the extra step: Once her disc was in stores, she picked one more partner to help get the album sold, Oprah Winfrey.

McEntire’s “Duets” sold 301,00 copies in its first week of release, according to Nielsen Soundscan, buoyed by an appearance on “Oprah” with a couple of her singing mates, Justin Timberlake and Kelly Clarkson.

McEntire’s album had been expected to top 200,000 and lock horns with Kanye West’s “Graduation,” now in its second week, in battle for No. 1. Instead “Duets” outsold “Graduation” by 75,000 units.

It is McEntire’s first chart-topper in her 31-album career. Closest she came previously was in 1994 when “Read My Mind” came in at No. 2. “It’s Your Call,” released in 1992, posted her previous top sales week: 124,000.

Her disc was one of six new entries in the top 10, 16 in the top 40.

As he has done with his first two tributes to different decades, Barry Manilow is again in the top 10, selling 113,000 copies of “The Greatest Songs of the Seventies” (Arista) to debut at No. 4. Manilow pre-sold a record 40,000 copies on the home-shopping channel QVC, during a segment in which he performed and pitched the new disc.

James Blunt, creator of the ubiquitous hit “You’re Beautiful,” saw 92,000 copies of his second album, “All the Lost Souls” (Custard/Atlantic) go home with fans. Album, which debuted at No. 1 in the U.K., opens at No. 7. Blunt’s TV appearances included “Today,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “Nightline,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”; album was premiered on The Leak on VH1.com beginning Sept. 11.

Houston rapper Chamillionaire scored a chart best as “Ultimate Victory” (Chamillitary/Universal Motown) opened at No. 8, selling 79,000 copies.

KT Tunstall’s second album, “Drastic Fantastic” (Virgin), sold 50,000 copies to open at No. 9. Tunstall promoted the release with appearances on “Today,” “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and “Ellen”; future TV perfs are booked on “The Tonight Show” and “Martha.” Tunstall’s songs have been used in promotions involving Nokia, Starbucks, Sprint and Apple iTunes. An early 2008 tour is being booked.

Twista’s “Adrenaline Rush 2007″ (Atlantic) sold 41,000 copies in its first week to enter at No. 10 Other debuts included Eddie Vedder’s soundtrack to “Into the Wild” (J Records) selling 39,000 (No. 11); H.I.M.’s “Venus Doom” (Sire/London/Rhino) moved 38,000 (No. 12); Motion City Soundtrack’s “Even If It Kills Me” (Epitaph) drove off with 33,000 sold (No. 16); Diana Krall’s “The Very Best of Diana Krall” (Verve) serenaded 30,000 (No. 19); and Dropkick Murphys’ “The Meanest of Times” (Born & Bred) tipped 28,000 (No. 20).

The deluxe version of the “Across the Universe” soundtrack (Interscope), which contains all 31 songs from the film, was possessed and caressed by 24,000, making it No. 24. The standard version skyrocketed 412%, selling15,000 and rising 135 slots to No. 43 in its second week of release.

Selling 23,000 copies each were Gloria Estefan’s “90 Millas” (Burgundy) at No. 25 and Mark Knopfler’s “Kill to Get Crimson” (Warner Bros.) at No. 26.

“One Chance” (Columbia), the debut album from the opera singer who won the TV contest “Britain’s Got Talent,” opened at No. 30 after selling 22,000 copies. Album was No. 1 in the U.K. for three weeks this summer.

New Found Glory’s “From Screen to Your Stereo 2” (Drive-thru) sold 15,000 copies to drive in to slot No. 42. Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds’ collection of ‘70s folk-rock covers, “Playlist” (Mercury), sold 14,000 to take No. 48.

After last week’s battle between the rappers, West’s “Graduation” continued to outsell 50 Cent’s “Curtis,” 226,000 to 143,000. Numbers were god enough for the second and third slots.

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