R&B newcomer Brown top pop artist of 2006

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A little more than a year after his debut on the charts, Chris Brown finishes 2006 as Billboard's top pop artist.

Thanks to his self-titled top 10 album on Jive/Zomba -- as well as multiple hit singles -- the rookie R&B singer rose to the top, beating out formidable challenges from such established acts as rock band Nickelback, country combo Rascal Flatts and reggae star Sean Paul.

It's no surprise then that best new artist Grammy nominee Brown is also this year's No. 1 new pop artist.

Other sexy new acts strutting their stuff on the Top New Artists chart this year include R&B singer/songwriter Ne-Yo at No. 2, Denver pop/rock act the Fray at No. 3, guitar-strumming U.K. singer James Blunt at No. 4, "American Idol" winner Carrie Underwood at No. 5 and "Idol"-enhanced Daniel Powter at No. 6.

In fact, Underwood does what no other "Idol" victor has done before -- snare the honor of having the No. 1 entry on the year-end Top Billboard 200 Albums chart.

The country singer's "Some Hearts" has never left The Billboard 200, selling strongly through the year thanks to multiple hit singles on country radio.

The new country singer holds off a most surprising No. 2 album of the year -- the Disney Channel TV soundtrack to "High School Musical." The album is the first TV soundtrack to reach No. 1 on The Billboard 200 since "Miami Vice" in the '80s, naturally making it the year's No. 1 soundtrack.

On the year-end Hot 100 recap, artist of the year

Brown places three singles on Billboard's yearend recap of the Hot 100: "Run It!" (No. 17), "Yo! Excuse Me Miss" (No. 44) and "Gimme That" (No. 69). But who was tops on Hot 100 Songs this year?

Powter and his "Idol" anthem "Bad Day." That single -- which essentially became the show's theme song in 2006 -- is in fine company in the top five of the Hot 100 recap this year.

It's joined by "Temperature" from Sean Paul, "Promiscuous" from Nelly Furtado featuring Timbaland, "You're Beautiful" from Blunt and "Hips Don't Lie" from Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean.

Furtado surpassed expectations this year, coming back from a poor-selling sophomore album with the chart-topping set "Loose." The effort was produced with hitmaker Timbaland and spawned The Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper "Promiscuous" and second hit "Maneater." Furtado closed out 2006 in the No. 25 slot on the Top Artists tally, just one notch above Mariah Carey, who dominated 2005's year-end lists.

Blunt's "You're Beautiful" became an inescapable hit in 2006, helping the singer/songwriter claim the No. 1 track on the year-end Hot Adult Contemporary Songs chart.

The Fray, which shares space on the year-end Top New Artists tally with Blunt, also claims the No. 1 slot on the Hot Adult Top 40 Songs recap with "Over My Head (Cable Car)," edging out Powter's "Bad Day."
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