LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - "American Idol" contestant Pia Toscano, whose early exit from the TV show shocked viewers, has signed a record deal with Interscope Records, the company said on Wednesday.
The 22 year-old Toscano, with her dark hair and powerful singing voice, was considered one of the front-runners for the top prize on "Idol" this year. But she was voted off by viewers to finish in 9th place.
Toscano will release her debut single "This Time" -- described as an acoustic guitar and beat-driven track -- on July 12, said Interscope Records. She will release her first album later this year.
Toscano described the record deal as "a dream come true".
This year's "Idol" winner was deep-voiced country singer Scotty McCreery, a former grocery store clerk.
Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Jill Serjeant