Looks like Mary J. Blige made Santa’s nice list.

The Queen of Hip-Hop Soul handily held off strong challenges from Jamie Foxx and the Notorious B.I.G. to lead the Christmas album chart.

Blige’s The Breakthrough stuffed 727,000 stockings for the week ended Sunday, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Her third chart-topper features such hot producers as Dr. Dre and the Black Eyed Peas’ Will.i.am and guest vocals by the likes of Bono, Jay-Z and Raphel Saadiq. The Breakthrough also features a reworking of 50 Cent’s “Hate It or Love It” called “MJB Da MVP” as well as the lead single “Be Without You.”

The Oscar-winning Foxx entered at number two, selling nearly 598,000 copies of his J Records debut, Unpredictable. The disc features several old pals, such as Twista and Kanye West, as well as a title track appearance by Ludacris, with whom Foxx collaborated on the current Disturbing Tha Peace single, “Georgia.”

Foxx, who attended college on a music scholarship, actually released his debut album, Peep This, in 1994. Following his Ray success, he decided to return to the microphone, with a guest spots on Twista’s “Slow Jamz” and West’s “Gold Digger,” for which Foxx channeled Ray Charles’ “I Got a Woman.” Foxx just earned his first solo Grammy nomination for Male R&B Vocal Performance for the track “Creepin’ ” off So Amazing: An All-Star Tribute to Luther Vandross.

Finally, the rapper Source magazine called the greatest emcee of all time, the Notorious B.I.G., sold nearly 438,000 copies of Duets: The Final Chapter for the three spot. When Biggie Smalls was gunned down in 1997, it was just two weeks before his second album’s release, and unlike nemesis Tupac Shakur, Biggie didn’t have much unreleased material in the archives. As a result, his posthumous releases have been minimal, and Duets is said to be the last.

The Notorious One’s swan song features an all-star guest list that includes Eminem, Diddy, Jay-Z, Snoop, Ludacris and Nelly. Biggie’s disc also features a duet with fellow belt-busting rapper Big Pun, whose own early death may have contributed to the surge in emcees using the “Lil” preface instead.

Coincidentally, Biggie got his first break with a guest appearance on a remix of Blige’s “Real Love.” Blige repaid the favor by recording a track for Duets–ironically, she also appears on Foxx’s Unpredictable, giving her the rare feat of appearing on the top three albums this week.

With the newcomers arriving 1-2-3, Eminem’s Curtain Call fell to number four. But the rapper’s best-of collection still sold 430,000 copies, up 106,000 copies from last week, and has a three-week tally of 1.2 million.

The ladies of American Idol are also continuing their strong runs. In its sixth week, Carrie Underwood’s Some Hearts sold 400,000 copies at five, while Kelly Clarkson’s Breakaway sold 230,000 in the 10 spot. Bo Bice’s The Real Thing, however, tumbled real far in its second week, dropping 12 spots to 16.

With so much Idol hype, Underwood and Bice both raced back to the top of the singles sales chart with their dueling versions of “Inside Your Heaven.” This time, Bice won out, selling nearly 3,000 to Underwood’s 2,700 at number two. Still, with nearly 447,000 total copies sold, Underwood’s version finished as the year’s top-selling single.

Meanwhile, Mariah Carey’s huge comeback continues as The Emancipation of Mimi closes in on 50 Cent’s The Massacre for the title of top-selling disc of 2005. Mimi finished the week at number six with 191,000 in sales, giving the disc 4.6 million since dropping in April; Fiddy’s album sold 21,000 to add to his 4.8 million. If Carey keeps up her pace this week, she could edge the rapper.

The week’s only other notable debut belonged to alt-country star Ryan Adams with 29, his third studio release of the year. The album sold 26,000 discs to open at 144.

Thanks to the three monster debuts leading the chart, sales were up 34 percent from the week previous and up 2 percent from the same period last year. But year-to-date sales of 602 million are still off 10 percent from 2004.

Here’s a rundown of the Top 10 albums for the week ended Sunday:

1. The Breakthrough, Mary J. Blige
2. Unpredictable, Jamie Foxx
3. Duets: The Final Chapter, Notorious B.I.G.
4. Curtain Call, Eminem
5. Some Hearts, Carrie Underwood
6. The Emancipation of Mimi, Mariah Carey
7. Now That’s What I Call Music! 20, various
8. The Road and the Radio, Kenny Chesney
9. All the Right Reasons, Nickelback
10. Breakaway, Kelly Clarkson

Credit: E! Online

By Music-Slam.com

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