By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated March 16, 2004 01:00 PM

The offshore online casino site has pointed its lucky finger at Fantasia Barrino as the odds-on favorite to win the “American Idol 3” crown.

As it is, after last week’s wild-card show on the FOX talent hunt, judge Simon Cowell was quoted as saying, “If I had to choose one of the 12 now to offer a recording contract without the competition, it would be Fantasia.”

In’s ranking of the chances of the 12 hopefuls, the 19-year-old from High Point, N.C. (who sang “Change Gonna Come”), is listed with odds of 7-4.

As for her fellow contestants, La Toya London is at 15-4; Diana DeGarmo, 4-1; Jennifer Hudson, 7-1; Jasmine Trias, 8-1; Jon Peter Lewis and Camile Velasco (tie), 10-1; John Stevens, 11-1; Amy Adams, 13-1; George Huff, 15-1; Matthew Rogers, 22-1; and leading longshot Leah Labelle, 35-1.

Of the four men, Cowell says the 16-year-old Stevens, from East Amherst, N.Y., could go the farthest. “If I was making a record,” Simon says, “I would pick the ginger-head kid. The guy who sings the Dean Martin stuff.”

Meanwhile, in some behind-the-scenes dirt on the “Idol” pack, MTV News quotes Cowell, 44, as saying there’s some cohabitation going on among the ditty dozen.

“Trust me, there’s (sic) been hookups,” he says. “They don’t talk about it, but it happens. Of course it happens. What do you think? We’ve got 12 kids living in the same house. Come on.”

Not that the show’s co-executive producer Ken Warwick completely concurs with Cowell.

“Generally speaking, they just don’t have time to hook up properly until after the series,” Warwick told MTV. “Also, there’s security and producers in the house all of the time, so it’s not as if they can sort of skulk off and have some romantic liaison easily. … That’s one of the reasons we keep them in an actual mansion, so we can keep an eye on them.”

He was also quick to add: “And if the kid is underage, then the parents are there, so it will never happen with a kid who’s underage.”