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For ''Future'' Idol Reference

By RD Heldenfels Published: February 17, 2006

From today's mail...

The country’s largest talent search has been narrowed down to 24 contestants as the latest edition of American Idol has reached the semi-final round. The popularity of American Idol has never been more apparent as the show has catapulted to the top of the ratings drawing nearly 30 million loyal viewers. Also a hit with online bettors, today became the first established bookmaker to offer odds on who will win the latest edition of the hit reality series.

The largest sports betting site on the Internet, has calculated individual odds on all 24 semi-finalists becoming the next American Idol. The oddsmakers at currently list Ace Young as the early favorite to win the major recording contract at 7/2 odds (i.e. win $7 for every $2 bet) followed closely by Katharine McPhee at 4/1 and Paris Bennett at 5/1.

Chris Daughtry (8/1), Kellie Pickler (8/1), Taylor Hicks (10/1) and Lisa Tucker (11/1) also appear to be early contenders for the Idol crown. lists Heather Cox (22/1), Will Makar (24/1), Stevie Scott (27/1), Jose ‘Sway’ Penala (29/1), Patrick Hall (31/1), Becky O’Donohue (45/1) and Mandisa (47/1) in the middle of the pack odds-wise.

The remaining semi-finalists have been listed by as 65/1 long shots to be selected as the next American Idol, this includes: Ayla Brown, Bobby Bennett, Brenna Gethers, Bucky Covington, David Radford, Elliott Yamin, Kinnik Sky, Gedeon McKinney, Melissa McGhee and Kevin Covias.

As I said, I haven't made my picks to win, and will probably wait until we're down to 12 to do so. Readers with long memories will also know that last year I was a big fan of Anwar, who hasn't been heard from much since he was voted off the show. But I'd like to think that the oddsmakers are underestimating my man Taylor Hicks, also known as Gray-Haired Guy.

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