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Keith Urban, Prince vie for chart supremacy
By Keith Caulfield
LOS ANGELES (Billboard) - Country star Keith Urban could claim his first No. 1 on the U.S. pop album chart next week, if he edges out Prince's new release.
Industry prognosticators suggest Urban's "Defying Gravity" (Capitol Nashville) could shift somewhere in the range of 150,000-160,000 copies in its first week, while Prince's Target-exclusive "LotusFlow3r" (NPG) could sell between 140,000-150,000. The next Billboard 200 chart, for the week ended April 5, will be published next Wednesday.
A preliminary chart issued on Wednesday gave Prince a wide lead over Urban. But the tally reflects sales estimates through the close of business on Tuesday, the day that Urban's album hit stores. Prince got a head start by releasing "LotusFlow3r" on Sunday, so the chart reflects three days of his sales.
Urban has hit No. 3 twice on the Billboard 200 with 2004's "Be Here" and 2006's "Love, Pain and the Whole Crazy Thing." If Prince reigns atop the list, it'll be his fifth No. 1.
Other albums looking good for a top 10 debut on next week's Billboard 200 chart include UGK's "UGK For Life," Diana Krall's "Quiet Nights" and Flo Rida's "R.O.O.T.S."
Nielsen SoundScan's sales tracking week, as reflected in the official Billboard 200 chart, runs from Monday through Sunday of each week. The newest Billboard 200 chart, released Wednesday -- where the "Now 30" compilation debuted at No. 1 with 146,000 copies -- reflected the week that ended March 29.
(Editing by Dean Goodman at Reuters)