Fan Fare

Entertainment behind the scenes

New albums top U.S. pop charts with puny sales

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georgeWhat a difference two years makes in the ailing music industry.

Country star Reba McEntire scored her second No. 1 on the Billboard 200 album chart Wednesday after selling 96,000 copies of “Keep On Loving You.” In September 2007, she hit No. 1 with the star-studded “Reba Duets” set. Its first-week tally: 301,000 copies. If the new album had come out then, its sales would have been good enough only for No. 7.

Last week’s chart-topper, fellow country icon George Strait, is also suffering lower sales, but not quite as bad. “Twang,” the fifth No. 1 of his career, debuted with 155,000 units last week, 16 months after “Troubadour” debuted at No. 1 with 166,000 and almost three years after “It Just Comes Natural” launched at No. 3 with 232,000.

The good news for Strait is that sales for “Twang” dropped 61 percent in its second week, compared with falls of 65 percent for “Troubadour” and 62 percent for “It Just Comes Natural.”

Who would have guessed that one would need to sell only 49,000 copies to have the No. 3 album in the United States? That honor goes to ’90s rock band Third Eye Blind with its first album in six years, “Ursa Major.” Its previous album, “Out of the Vein,” debuted at No. 12 with 63,000 copies, while 1999′s “Blue” started with 75,000. Back in those days, such a tally was good enough for a modest start at No. 40.

Carrie Underwood’s big night

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carrie_underwood1Its only been four years since Carrie Underwood won American Idol, but it felt like a long-overdue coronation when she was named entertainer of the year at the Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas on Sunday night.

The 26-year-old superstar beati out Kenny Chesney, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley and George Strait, four of country music’s top-selling male artists, all of them at least a decade older, to cement her place as the biggest star of country music’s next generation. 

Will Carrie Underwood steal Kenny Chesney’s crown?

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carrieCarrie Underwood has become country music’s biggest star since she exploded onto the scene after winning American Idol in 2005, but so far she’s been passed over as the Academy of Country Music’s Entertainer of the Year, which has gone to only six women in 39 years.

In fact in recent years, country superstar Kenny Chesney has had a lock on the Entertainer of the Year award, taking it home in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

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