December 11, 2006 at 08:50 PM EST

Fantasia! Taylor! Fantasia! Taylor! My sister! My daughter!

Oh, sorry, PopWatchers. Didn’t see you standing there. How much of that did you hear? Really?  Er, well, okay, I’ll just be honest with you. I was in the midst of a raging internal debate. You see, tomorrow, American Idol‘s third- and fifth-season champs, Fantasia Barrino and Taylor Hicks — or, if you prefer, their self-titled CDs — will be engaging in a little head-to-head battle at your local record store, and I’m struggling to predict who’s going to be the sales champ.

My gut feeling is that Taylor’s week 1 sales will be a tad higher. After all, his season is freshest in Idol fanatics’ minds, and one should not underestimate how many fortysomething chicks out Christmas shopping for their families will be willing to part with a twenty-dollar bill to support their favorite gray-haired hip-swiveler.

That said, I think ‘Tasia may move more CDs in the long haul. I’m almost done listening to her new disc (which, along with Taylor Hicks, is streaming over at AOL Music), and I’ve heard at least four potential smashes she could use to follow up the fierce first single “Hood Boy” — “When I See You,” “Uneligible,” “Not the Way That I Do,” and the insanely addictive “Baby Makin Hips” (which is threatening to replace Beyonce’s “Sugar Mama” as the Slezak Repeat-Loop Track of the Week™ …I’m sure my coworkers will be delighted). As far as I’m concerned, Fantasia does for ‘Tasia what Breakaway did for Kelly Clarkson; it transforms her from reality-TV sensation to full-fledged artist — and hopefully, a multiplatinum one at that. Of course, maybe I’m just biased about my fave Idol. Listen to Fantasia and Taylor Hicks for yourself, and then predict who’ll be the first-week and overall sales champ.

addCredit(“Fantasia: Randall Slavin”)

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