Outkast and Danity Kane battle it out for #1

It’s a two-team race for #1 on next week’s album chart, with this week’s winner on the outside.

OutKast is off to a quick start, but look for a hard charge from out of nowhere, in this case R&B girl group Danity Kane, stars of the most recent installment of Diddy's MTV series, Making of the Band, in the race to finish first on next Tuesday’s HITS Top 50 album tally. And don't count out Christina Aguilera, either. Those are the findings based on a survey of first-day sales from our team of crack-smoking retailers around the country… Unh, we mean crack retail reporters.

The multi-platinum Hotlanta rap duo’s new LaFace/ZLG Idlewild has to be considered the early favorite for the top slot, with the film opening wide this Friday, accompanied by a massive marketing blitz, which appears to be sending sales past 200k. Still, the marketplace is reacting to the album more like a soundtrack than the follow-up to Andre 3000 and Big Boi's massive 2003 diamond-selling double-CD Spearkboxx/The Love Below.

Bad Boy/Atlantic's Danity Kane will provide a stiff challenge, with a total that could go also top 200k, or not, depending on whether stores can be stocked quickly enough to meet the unexpected demand. And a strong second week for Christina Aguilera's RCA album Back to Basics might just put her in a three-way tussle for the top if she loses less than 50% from her first-week total of 356k.

Mexican rockers Mana's Amar Es Combatir (To Love is To Fight) on the Warner Music Latina label, looks headed for an opening week of close to 100k, which would put them in line for a Top 5 debut.

Paris Hilton's WB bow as a singer is next, with a total that could approach 90k, not bad for a novice who roasts the Rod Stewart chestnut, “Do You Think I'm Sexy?”

Epic dark rockers Lamb of God, who broke through on HITS alum Dan Fitzgerald's metal Prosthetic label, are next up with an impressive one-week total for their new album Sacrament that could approach 80k. LaFace “Milkshake” gal Kelis is next with Kelis Was Here earmarked for almost 70k in first-week sales.

J/Epic/Legacy's posthumous The Ultimate Luther Vandross could reach 50k, while roots country-rocker Pat Green's Sony BMG Nashville debut, Cannonball, appears headed for the 35-40k range.

This coming Tuesday (8/29), Sony's odd couple of Columbia's Bob Dylan and Epic's Jessica Simpson hit the streets, and wouldn't that make a prime duet?

Overall, the market was up beween 2-3% vs. last week, down almost 7% from the same week last year and now down more than 5.5% year-to -date. Now we return you to this week's Dueling Press Releases between Sumner Redstone and Tom Cruise.

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