American Idol

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Interscope Signs American Idol Third-Place Finisher Haley Reinhart

Third-place American Idol finisher Haley Reinhart has become the fourth contestant from season 10 to sign with an imprint of Universal Music Group, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday. After winner Scotty McCreery and runner-up Lauren Alaina were scooped up by Mercury Nashville for forthcoming country-skewing debuts, ninth-place finisher (and possibly the most divisive Idol contestant ever) Pia Toscano signed to Interscope earlier this month. Toscano’s first single “This Time” was announced at the same time as her deal, but the single premiered and flopped.

There is no word yet when we can expect to hear music from Reinhart, though one might wonder whether the chilly response to Toscano had any influence on the decision to sign another more pop-oriented Idol contestant. At the very least, Jimmy Iovine seems determined to find someone from this past season who will have success on the pop charts. McCreery and Alaina have already proven themselves too country for the task, and unless Toscano has another single up her sleeve, Reinhart might be his new hope. Her most popular Idol performance, after all, was her rendition of the biggest single of the year (“Rolling in the Deep,” natch). The signing could also be less calculated than all that?she may merely have impressed on the first two weeks of this summer’s Idols Tour. One thing’s for sure: we’ll be hearing more from Reinhart, not too long from now.

Haley Reinhart of American Idol fame inks deal with Interscope [Los Angeles Times]

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Scotty McCreery Won American Idol, But Will Pia Toscano Reap The Benefits?

Scotty McCreery’s Walmart-exclusive five-songs-for-five-dollars American Idol Season 10 Highlights EP sold 40,000 copies in the past week?enough to hit #10 on the Billboard 200?but even though he won American Idol, the big news today isn’t his chart performance but the official announcement that Interscope Chairman Jimmy Iovine signed ninth-place finisher Pia Toscano. Iovine’s in-house mentoring was a strong guide for this season’s contestants?at least, until the voters at home voted Toscano, an Iovine favorite who’d hewed closely to his guidance, off the show. Iovine was, in fact, rumored to have signed Toscano just days after being eliminated, but no confirmation existed until late yesterday.

Toscano has spent the three months since her elimination working on a debut single, “an acoustic guitar and beat-driven track” written by Esther Dean, composer of Rihanna’s “S&M,” “Rude Boy” and “What?s My Name.” The Hollywood Reporter had previously revealed that Toscano was hard at work on an album, with production from Rodney Jerkins. So even if the Interscope signing really was recent, one would assume the deal has been in the works since her elimination, as was rumored.

What does that mean for Scotty McCreery (not to mention second-place finisher Lauren Alaina)? Both artists signed to Interscope’s country imprint, Mercury Nashville, which certainly means they’ll have their shots at a music career, but not as the crossover artist Iovine was hoping Idol would produce this year. Under his guidance, Interscope has been hard at work to break Pia Toscano in the pop world. If their plans succeed, McCreery could be an American Idol in name only.

American Idol‘s Pia Toscano Signs With Interscope Records [Hollywood Reporter]

[Image: Getty Images]

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American Idol Scotty McCreery Breaks Country Airplay Record With Debut Single

Scotty McCreery‘s debut single “I Love You This Big” premiered less than a week ago on the American Idol season finale, but the new Idol’s song has racked up enough airplay since then to debut at #32 on the Country Songs chart?the highest debut for a new artist on that chart since it reverted to airplay-only in 1990. (The previous record-holder was also a reality-show winner: Brad Cotter of Nashville Star, whose first single “I Meant To” debuted at #42.) McCreery’s popularity with country listeners?plus unflagging support from his hometown country station, which has rebranded itself as “Scotty 94.7″?led to the new record.

Idol runner-up Lauren Alaina‘s “Like My Mother Does” is also getting enough country radio support to debut at #49 on the same chart. These airplay figures, plus digital sales numbers, could spell good news for the Idol vets on the Hot 100 on Thursday.

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American Idol: The Top Five Finale Performances

As many suspected (and Matt Drudge claimed to know), Scotty McCreery won the tenth season of American Idol. But the last results show isn’t really about the winner (especially not when there are two hours of programming to fill): It’s about the performances! And the finale had them in spades, including not a few surprises. Here’s what you missed:

5. Steven Tyler “Dream On”

The judges had varying levels of involvement in the finale performances. Randy Jackson made sure Gladys Knight joined the fantastic Kirk Franklin-Jacob Lusk duet “I Smile”, while Jennifer Lopez was content to dance as her husband Marc Anthony performed his salsa cover “Aguanile” (with Sheila E. killing it on the timbales). But Steven Tyler took the stage to perform his first hit with Aerosmith, and proved that his voice is as strong as ever (and that the song holds up just as well).

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by (@unclegrambo)

Scotty McCreery Is YOUR American Idol

Well, that certainly was anti-climactic, wasn’t it? After Matt Drudge reported yesterday afternoon that Scotty McCreery annihilated Lauren Alaina in the popular vote by a nearly 2:1 margin and was going to be named this year’s American Idol, last night’s broadcast finale felt less like a victory lap and more like a really drawn out lead-up to a foregone conclusion. When Ryan Seacrest announced that the 17 year-old country singer from rural North Carolina had beaten the 16 year-old country singer from rural Georgia, both contestants momentarily winced, then looked at each other with the same kind of expression that you see on people who know that a surprise party is being thrown for them before they even walk in the door. Confetti shot in the air, J. Lo pranced around in a catsuit, and Scotty McCreery got kissed by more women on stage than he’s probably kissed in real life.

However, as former Idol champs like Taylor Hicks, Lee DeWyze, and Kris Allen will attest, winning American Idol is the easy part. Staying afloat in today’s highly competitive music industry is another story entirely, and it remains to be seen whether Scotty will be wholeheartedly embraced by the Nashville elite. While Idol has launched Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler into country stardom, it should be noted that during its ten season run, Idol has never produced a highly successful male country singer (unless you count Josh Gracin, which, sorry, we really don’t).

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Lady Gaga Coaches on American Idol

Lady Gaga didn’t have to try to be the most interesting thing on last night’s American Idol, but she still gave her all while coaching the contestants through the Lieber and Stoller songbook. Her calculated weirdness collided forcefully with some contestants’ blandness and hesitance.

Sporting a monochromatic wig and wardrobe (including a fake birthmark), she forcibly Elvis-swiveled James Durbin‘s hips as he practiced “Love Potion No. 9,” used an extended tongue-kissing metaphor to describe how Scotty McCreery should relate to the microphone, and all but told Lauren Alaina to grow up. Haley Reinhart seemed the least uncomfortable with Gaga, discussing theatricality and breath control. But all the advice was good, if awkwardly transferred. Gaga herself did not sing.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Lee DeWyze “Sweet Serendipity” Music Video Premiere

It’s no secret that male winners of American Idol have yet to experience the same kind of success in the marketplace as their female counterparts. Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and our own Fantasia all have multiple gold LPs under their belt, while the likes of David Cook, Taylor Hicks and Kris Allen have yet to strike the same kind of chord with the record buying public. That said, Lee DeWyze has already beaten the odds once, so what’s in the way of him having the biggest post-Idol career of not just the guys, but also the girls?

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by (@BHSmithNYC)

Jordin Sparks Has A New CD – Hear It Now!

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Listen to American Idol veteran Jordin Sparks‘ brand new CD Battlefield (19/Jive/JLG) in full a week before it hits stores! The album, her second, is filled with tunes about life and love and features production from Stargate, Claude Kelly and T-Pain among others.

CLICK HERE to listen to The Leak: Battlefield (19/Jive/JLG)

CLICK HERE to watch My Playlist: Jordin Sparks and see her favorite videos and exclusive interview footage!

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Best Week Ever Sneak: Adam Lambert Hits Town!

There’s been lots of speculation about the superstar Idol runner-up, and Paul F. Tompkins doesn’t mess around – he just comes right out and asks. Does Lambert come clean? Check the clip now, and tune in tonight at 11 pm ET to watch the entire show. Mr. Kris Allen is also in the house tonight, so it’s Idol mania time. Just check how fangirl our Michelle Collins went when she connected with one of the guys yesterday. Read the interview.

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