This fall is promising a bumper crop of
The season's highest-placing female contestant, and the youngest singer ever to make the top 12 (she was 16 when she began her run), 17-year-old Iraheta distinguished herself on the show with a husky, powerful singing style that belied her youth. From her defining cover of Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me" to her gut-busting take on Janis Joplin's "Cry Baby," the flame-haired singer showed a steely confidence on the show. She said the record deal is the crowning achievement.
"I think I'm still in shock that this is happening — getting to record my first album and this whole awesome experience is a dream come true!" Iraheta said in a statement announcing the deal.
"Idol" executive producer Simon Fuller called Iraheta an "incredible young singer" and said that she is "without a doubt one of the best teenage singers 'American Idol' has ever discovered. We all watched Allison grow in confidence and stature as she performed each week on the show, and we can only imagine how far this special girl can continue to blossom in the years ahead."
RCA/Jive boss Barry Weiss praised Iraheta's "bluesy, powerful voice, spunky attitude, and edgy star power," which he said immediately captivated him. "It didn't matter where she ranked on 'Idol,' we knew we wanted her to join our amazing crop of young talent at Jive."
The Downey, California, native — who won $50,000 and a recording contract on the Telemundo reality-singing show "Quinceañera" in 2006 — will join the rest of the top 10 on the American Idols Live! tour, which kicks off on July 5 at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon.
While it's not unusual for several top finishers to be signed to deals after the show, Iraheta's deal is even more noticeable in light of the lack of any action on the Danny Gokey front. The third-place finisher, who at one point was considered to be front-runner Lambert's most serious competition, has not yet signed a deal. An unnamed 19 rep told EW.com that "there's nothing to report just yet" on a potential Gokey deal.
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