WEEK AHEAD: Taylor Hicks Sings in the Holidays

Plus: Fantasia's back with her soulful second album, The Amazing Race sprints to the finish line and more

Bring on the holiday spirit! Join American Idol winner Taylor Hicks, Gretchen Wilson and other stars as they celebrate Christmas in Washington with Dr. Phil on Wednesday, plus other events to watch out for in the coming week:

SUNDAY, DEC. 10: They’ve traveled the world – Kuwait, China, Madagascar, India – and now the final three pairs are hoping to sprint their way to the finish line for a cool $1 million on the season finale of The Amazing Race (CBS, 8 p.m. ET). Now that everybody’s favorite team to beat – beauty queens Dustin and Kandice – are out of the running, it’s between single moms Lynn and Karlyn (otherwise known as “Bama”), eternally bickering couple Rob and Kimberly and models Tyler and James. But before they can score the dough, they’ll have to do a 12,000-ft. skydive. Geronimo!

TUESDAY, DEC. 12: The American Idols are everywhere! Jennifer Hudson is winning raves for her role in Dreamgirls, Taylor Hicks is coming out with his first major-label album (see below) and Fantasia Barrino is back with her second CD. On this album, called Fantasia, the Idol gets some help from a few high-profile collaborators, including Missy Elliott and Big Boi. Barrino has said she wanted to stretch herself on the album, so expect some major vocal acrobatics.

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 13: It’s sure to be a talky, touchy-feely Christmas with Dr. Phil and wife Robin McGraw as they host their annual Christmas in Washington special (TNT, 10 p.m. ET). On board for the holiday fun are Taylor Hicks, Gretchen Wilson, Il Divo and British soulstress (and Grammy nominee) Corinne Bailey Rae. It’s a good week for Hicks: The day before he releases his self-titled debut album, which he tells PEOPLE is his “take on modern soul music. My album takes pieces of what I learned from Ray (Charles) and from what I hear in today’s music .My musical sensibility goes way beyond the two minutes of Idol.

THURSDAY, DEC. 14: Sure, the Grammys aren’t until February, but why not start the partying now? PEOPLE is hosting the Grammy Kick-Off Party Only in Vegas at the trendy JET Nightclub at The Mirage in Sin City. Jamie Foxx hosts the bash and Fergie, Five for Fighting‘s John Ondrasik and Josh Kelley (Grey’s Anatomy star Katherine Heigl‘s fiancé) perform. And when they’re not taking the stage, hipster deejay Samantha Ronson will keep the beats flowing.

Movies (now in theaters): The Holiday, starring Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Cameron Diaz and Jack Black; Apocalypto, starring Gerardo Taracena and Raoul Trujillo; Blood Diamond, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Connelly and Djimon Hounsou; Unaccompanied Minors, starring Wilmer Valderrama and Lewis Black; Off the Black, starring Nick Nolte, and Timothy Hutton
Music (in stores Tuesday): Ghostface Killah, More Fish; Tyrese, Alter Ego; Young Jeezy, The Inspiration
DVDs (in stores Tuesday): The Devil Wears Prada; Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby; James Bond Ultimate Edition Vol. 3; Full House – The Complete Fifth Season; She’s the Man; Law & Order Criminal Intent – The Second Year

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