By Michael Slezak
Updated February 21, 2006 at 08:56 PM EST
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Taylor Hicks: J.Viles/Fox

If you’re a fan of American Idol contestant Taylor Hicks — the guy with the salt-and-pepper hair who seems to be trying to channel Ray Charles — you don’t have to wait till the mens’ semifinals on Wednesday to hear him. AOL’s TV Squad has a link to WBHM, an Alabama NPR station that’s featuring three tracks from Hicks’ CD, Under the Radar, which appears to be a self-released affair. ”Hell of a Day” isn’t half bad, but to my ears, ”Soul Thing” and ”Heart and Soul” are no better than middling. As far as blues-tinged Idol pop goes, in fact, I much prefer Season 4 reject Judd Harris’ band, Visible From Space.

How about you? Are you digging Hicks’ music, and more importantly, will you be rooting for him on Idol?

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