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Pia Toscano Officially Inks Interscope Record Deal

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

Rumors that Pia Toscano would sign to Jimmy Iovine's Interscope label have swirled in the blogosphere ever since her shocker elimination this past "American Idol" season, and now it's finally official: According to The Hollywood Reporter, the brunette balladeer has inked her Interscope deal and will be releasing an album later this year. Said Toscano in a statement this week: "I am thrilled to be joining the Interscope and 19 Recordings family. Jimmy Iovine was an amazing mentor during my time on 'Idol' and I'm looking forward to working with him and everyone at Interscope Records and 19 Recordings. This is a dream come true."

Pia in fact already has a single in the works, "This Time," which will come out July 12. But fans can expect to hear it sooner than that, as THR reports that Pia will be performing the song as part of her set on the Idols Live Tour, which kicks off this week in Salt Lake City. Fueling longstanding griping and gossip of accused Pia favortism (what other ninth-place Idol ever got to sing on "Dancing With The Stars" only a few weeks after her elimination?), this will mark the first time that an "Idol" contestant has performed a new original single on the Idols Live Tour since fourth-placer Tamyra Gray did way back on the Season 1 tour. Not even past "Idol" winners have gotten to perform original singles on recent tours, aside from their coronation songs. It remains to be seen (or heard) whether other Season 10 "Idol" contestants will also be singing new originals on the tour this summer.

Additionally, it'll be interesting to find out just what kind of song "This Time" is. While Pia is famous for her old-fashioned ballads, and superproducer Rodney Jerkins (who's worked on three songs with Pia) tells THR that her album will be a "big, diva-sounding record," THR also reports that "This Time" was co-written by Ester Dean, whose writing credits include upbeat, dancey songs like Christina Aguilera's "Not Myself Tonight," Nicole Scherzinger's "Right There," Rihanna's "Rude Boy" and "S&M," Katy Perry's "Firework" and "Peacock," Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass," and other clubby tunes for the likes of Britney Spears, Chris Brown, Beyonce, Keri Hilson, Usher, and Ciara. So fans of classic Pia performances like "All By Myself" and "I'll Stand By You" may be in for a quite a surprise. Will "This Time" perhaps sound something like this old 2010 Pia song, "Shake Her Down," which is still floating around online?:

Pia will presumably perform "This Time" for first time publicly on Wednesday, July 6, at the Maverik Center in Utah.

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