- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 2, 2009

Jackson on top

As predicted, the late Michael Jackson is once again the King of the Pop charts.

Based on preliminary sales numbers from Nielsen SoundScan, the entire top nine positions on Billboard’s Top Pop Catalog Albums chart housed Jackson-related titles after the tally was released on Wednesday morning. Nielsen SoundScan’s sales tracking week ended at the close of business Sunday night.

Mr. Jackson himself has a record eight out of the top 10, while a Jackson 5 compilation also finds its way into the upper tier.

Fittingly, the King of Pop’s “Number Ones” will lead the pack at No. 1 with 108,000 (an increase of 2,340 percent) while “The Essential Michael Jackson” and “Thriller” are in the Nos. 2 and 3 slots with 102,000 and 101,000, respectively. Last week “Number Ones” was the only Jackson title on the chart, at No. 20 with 4,000 copies; both “Essential” and “Thriller” re-enter the tally this week.

Additionally, Mr. Jackson’s classic 1979 studio set “Off the Wall” re-enters at No. 4 with 33,000, while his 1987 album “Bad” returns at No. 6 with 17,000. At No. 5, the Jackson 5’s “The Ultimate Collection” opens with 18,000. Mr. Jackson’s fourth studio album for Epic Records, 1991’s “Dangerous,” re-enters at No. 7 with 14,000, while his 2001 compilation “Greatest Hits: HIStory - Vol. 1” also comes back to the list at No. 8 with 12,000. Finally, Mr. Jackson’s 2004 box set “The Ultimate Collection” charts its first week on the Pop Catalog chart, arriving at No. 9 with 11,000.

Collectively, Mr. Jackson’s solo albums sold 415,000 this past week. That’s extraordinary, since his titles sold a combined 10,000 in the week that ended June 21. Of the 415,000 total, 58 percent were digital downloads.

Stunned by divorce

The wife of R&B singer Usher was surprised when the entertainer filed for divorce last month and claims the two were intimate less than a week before he moved to end the marriage, Associated Press reports, citing court documents.

Tameka Raymond, 38, disputes Usher’s claims the couple have been separated since July 2008. She said in court documents filed Monday in Georgia’s Fulton County Superior Court that she “had every reason to believe her marriage was intact” and that the two were “intimately together as husband and wife as recently as June 6.”

Usher, whose real name is Usher Raymond IV, filed for divorce June 12, claiming that there is “no reasonable hope of reconciliation” and that the marriage is “irretrievably broken.” He is seeking joint custody of the couple’s two sons, 1 1/2-year-old Usher Raymond V and 6-month-old Naviyd Ely Raymond.

Tameka Raymond has three children from a previous marriage. She said through her divorce attorney, Randy Kessler, that she has been a faithful wife and loving mother during the marriage.

The couple married in August 2007.

Wardrobe snafu

Stacy London should have given her outfit a second look on Sunday.

According to the New York Post, the host of TLC’s “What Not to Wear” stopped into Buttermilk Channel in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens community to say hi to friends who were having brunch - and, witnesses told the newspaper, “Her thong [underwear] was hanging out of her pants and a tag was sticking out from the thong.”

Guests were staring at Miss London, who, through her show, offers wardrobe advice to women nationwide. Her agent didn’t return calls and e-mails, the New York Post reports.

New members

Working with director Judd Apatow appears to be one prerequisite for scoring a membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, notes TVGuide.com.

Frequent Apatow collaborators Seth Rogen, James Franco, Michael Cera, Paul Rudd and Jane Lynch are among the 134 industry names invited to join the elite Hollywood club this year. As members, they will enjoy voting privileges for all future Oscar ceremonies. (Mr. Apatow himself was invited to join the academy last year.)

In addition to Team Apatow, five Oscar-nominated actors from last season - Anne Hathaway, Viola Davis, District native Taraji P. Henson, Michael Shannon and Melissa Leo - were extended invites, as was Hugh Jackman, host of the 81st Academy Awards.

Other prospective new members include Casey Affleck, Emily Blunt, James McAvoy, Amy Ryan, Michelle Williams, Jeffrey Wright, Brendan Gleeson and Emile Hirsch.

Among the crop of off-screen talent invited to join the academy are Oscar winners Danny Boyle (director, “Slumdog Millionaire”), A.R. Rahman (composer, “Slumdog Millionaire”), Dustin Lance Black (screenwriter, “Milk”), Peter Gabriel and Tyler Perry.

• Compiled by Robyn-Denise Yourse from Web and wire reports

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