After finishing in seventh place on this season's American Idol, country singer Kristy Lee Cook is returning to Arista Nashville, the same label that signed and then dropped her in 1999. The label, along with AI's 19 Recordings, will release Cook's first single "15 Minutes of Shame" on August 11th, with an album to follow in the fall. The album will be produced by Brett James, who co-wrote AI champ Carrie Underwood's "Jesus, Take the Wheel." So why would a record label devote money and studio space to a seventh place finisher when, just last week, season six runner-up Blake Lewis was dropped from his contract? Post-American Idol, contestants seems to fare better with country music than with R&B or rock or whatever genre Lewis was, as evidenced by the massive success of Carrie Underwood and, on a much smaller scale, Kellie Pickler, Bucky Covington and the second season's Josh Gracin. While none of the latter three ever top the Billboard Top 200, they all had a Top 1 or 2 album on the U.S. Country Albums charts.
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