If "American Idol" were an Olympic sport, Kimberley Locke would be a medal winner.
That's how the 26-year-old Nashville singer views her experience on the hit reality show, and she's chasing the kind of mainstream success her friends Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard have already achieved with that much confidence.
Locke released her first single earlier this month, and it's been the most added song on top-40 radio for three weeks straight, according to her label, Curb Records.
Even more impressive, perhaps, is that the tune, "8th World Wonder," was produced not by a veteran hitmaker — as with singles from other "American Idol" contestants — but rather by a newcomer, Shaun Shankel.
"He's out of Nashville, so it's pretty good to work with a hometown producer on my first track," Locke said recently. "It's a love song, it's a pop song, mild to moderate tempo. It's very catchy."
"8th World Wonder" will be featured on Locke's debut album, due in April. Guy Roche (Christina Aguilera), Matt Bronleewe (Natalie Imbruglia) and Drew Ramsey (India.Aire) also produced tracks, which include the titles "It's Alright," "I Could" and "Wrong."
"There's pop, there's R&B and of course there's the power ballad. So it's pretty mixed," Locke said.
Locke also covered one of her signature "American Idol" songs, Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me," for the album, which has yet to be titled.
"I don't wanna tell what the title is yet because it's kind of a special thing," she said. "I want to wait till the very last minute. It's for my fans."