Celine Dion's dramatic return to the top of the nation's album sales chart after a two-year break from the pop scene was short-lived because of a spectacular first-week showing by R&B; newcomer Ashanti.
Thanks to her own hit single "Foolish" and guest roles on other hits, the 21-year-old New Yorker built enough fan interest for her self-titled debut album to sell nearly 503,000 copies in its first week in stores.
That's the second-highest first-week sales total this year, behind the 527,000 registered two weeks ago by Dion's "A New Day Has Come." Dion's album fell to second this week with sales of 263,000.
Besides "Foolish," Ashanti has been featured in recent weeks on two other top 10 radio airplay singles: "What's Luv?" with Fat Joe and "Always on Time" with Ja Rule.
In another strong debut, Tweet's "Southern Hummingbird" entered the charts at No. 3 with sales of 195,000. The 29-year-old R&B; singer, based in Atlanta, has one of the season's most celebrated singles in "Oops (Oh My)."
The other positions in the top 10 this week are claimed, in order, by Vol. 9 of the "Now That's What I Call Music" compilation series, the "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack, the Jay-Z and R. Kelly collaboration on "The Best of Both Worlds," Avant, "The Scorpion King" soundtrack, Ludacris and Pink.
The best-selling single remains 'N Sync's pairing with Nelly on "Girlfriend."