'American Idol': Will Women Rule This Year?

Santilli said the all-female top finalists from season three, which included LaToya London, Jasmine Trias, Diana Degarmo and winner Fantasia Barrino, had the lowest-selling "Idol" tour of all time.

Season six, which produced the last female "Idol," Jordin Sparks, had a sharp ratings decline once the live shows began.

"This year reminds me of season six," Santilli said. "The contestants that have the most buzz are women. And the core female audience wants a guy they can get a crush on."

"People already think this season is boring," she said. "If the singing doesn't pick up, if there aren't more water cooler moments, the ratings are going to dive."

One plus for the women winners: they've sold more records than their male counterparts. Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood are bona fide recording stars. That's more than you can say for Kris Allen and Taylor Hicks.

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