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Beyonce starts "Fierce" atop U.S. album chart

NEW YORK —-  Beyonce has scored her third straight No. 1 debut on the pop album chart with the double-disc “I Am … Sasha Fierce.”

The Music World/Columbia album shifted a whopping 482,000 copies in the United States during the week ended November 23, according to Nielsen SoundScan .

The set, split between material credited to R&B star Beyonce and her new alter-ego, Sasha Fierce, has already spawned the hits “If I Were a Boy” and “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It).” Beyonce’s 2003 solo debut, ” Dangerously in Love ,” started with 317,000, while 2006’s “B-Day” moved 541,000.

In a week with seven top 20 debuts on the Billboard 200 , Nickelback ‘s “Dark Horse” sold 326,000 to start at No. 2. The Canadian rock outfit spent an astonishing 156 weeks on the chart with its previous album, 2005’s ” All the Right Reasons ,” whose sales total 6.97 million to date.

Reigning “American Idol” champion David Cook’s self-titled debut arrived at No. 3 with 280,000. That’s more than double the first-week numbers of 2007 champ Jordin Sparks ‘ self-titled debut, which sold 119,000 copies and has gone on to shift 956,000.

Last week’s No. 1, country singer Taylor Swift ‘s “Fearless,” slipped to No. 4 on a 63 percent sales decline to 217,000. New at No. 5 is multinational vocal group Il Divo’s “The Promise” with 162,000. The act’s previous album, 2006’s “Siempre,” debuted at No. 17 with 108,000.

The soundtrack to the runaway hit film “Twilight” slid from No. 5 to No. 6 despite a 17 percent sales uptick to 125,000. The “Now 29″ compilation dropped from No. 3 to No. 7 after a 33 percent decline to 115,000. The ” High School Musical 3″ soundtrack fell one rung to No. 8 on a 9 percent sales downturn to 86,000, while Enya ‘s “And Winter Came” moved from No. 8 to No. 9 on a nearly identical sales slide to 83,000.

AC/DC’s “Black Ice” rounded out the top 10 after falling from No. 6. The album sold 73,000 copies in its fifth week of exclusive release via Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club, bringing its total to 1.39 million.

Other debuts during the week included Dido’s “Safe Trip Home” at No. 13 with 51,000 and the Zac Brown Band ‘s “The Foundation” at No. 17 with 44,000.

At 9.45 million, sales were up 6 percent from the previous week but down 32 percent from the year-earlier week (13.96 million).

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