While Stefano was not my favorite on "Idol" last year, I admit I was incredibly and unexpectedly impressed by his showing on last summer's Idols Live concert tour (he performed with more confidence and swag than he ever exhibited on television, and he sounded and looked like a star). That was when I started to realize that Stefano was perhaps THE most relevant, marketable, and modern artist among the Season 10 cast. A cute, R&B-leaning boy who can dance and has no problem stripping off his shirt at even the slightest prompting? And who can sing, too? No wonder Hollywood Records, which obviously caters mainly to young female record-buyers, snatched this guy right up. And if Hollywood hooks Stefano up with the right material, he could be all over pop radio this year. His single is due out this spring, with an album following in summer 2012.
Stefano is, amazingly, the seventh Season 10 "Idol" alum to get a major record deal, which I believe is a record for any "Idol" season. Winner Scotty McCreery and runner-up Lauren Alaina signed to Mercury Nashville; third- and ninth-place contestants Haley Reinhart and Pia Toscano got picked up by Interscope; James Durbin went with Wind-Up Records; and Casey Abrams, as mentioned above, is now on Concord. Jacob Lusk and Naima Adedapo have tweeted that they're currently recording, and Paul McDonald recently self-released a duet with his actress wife Nikki Reed, although no signing announcements have been made for those three. However, at this rate, I wouldn't be surprised if that soon changes.
Congrats to Stefano and Hollywood Records on what seems like a match made in teen-pop heaven! Now let's get Paul McDonald signed...