Norah Jones challenges Eminem for chart supremacy. The chanteuse's ''Come Away With Me'' reaches No. 2 after nearly a year, breathing down the neck of ''8 Mile''

By Gary Susman
January 09, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

Eminem’s ”8 Mile” soundtrack topped the Billboard album chart for a second straight week, but the rapper was almost dethroned by a gal with a piano. Jazz-pop crooner Norah Jones, whose debut ”Come Away With Me” has been on the charts for 44 weeks, enjoyed her best showing yet, as the album’s long, slow climb finally reached the No. 2 position. Perhaps boosted by a rerun of her appearance on ”Saturday Night Live,” Jones jumped five notches from last week and sold 118,350 CDs, according to SoundScan, just 925 fewer than ”8 Mile”’s 119,275. Jones may see an even bigger spike next week on the heels of her five Grammy nominations, including the three top awards (Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year) and Best New Artist. Of course, Eminem also earned five nominations, as did six other artists.

One of those, Jones’ fellow Best New Artist contender Avril Lavigne, saw her similarly long-lived debut album, ”Let Go,” hold the No. 3 spot on sales of 113,100. Four-time nominees the Dixie Chicks remained in fourth place, selling another 97,000 copies of ”Home.” Up three places to No. 5 was Christina Aguilera’s ”Stripped,” which sold 95,850 discs.

Sliding one slot to sixth was Jennifer Lopez’s ”This Is Me… Then,” while slipping one slot to seventh was Justin Timberlake’s ”Justified.” (He’s up for one Grammy, for his song ”Like I Love You.”) Shania Twain’s ”Up!” was down five spots to No. 8. Aaliyah’s posthumous ”I Care 4 U” rose one rung to No. 9. Climbing back into the top 10 in 10th place was hits compilation ”NOW That’s What I Call Music! Vol. 11.”