Pia Toscano, the powerhouse vocalist who was voted off American Idol this past season in ninth place, has signed a recording contract with Interscope Records. The label, which is run by Toscano's Idol mentor Jimmy Iovine, is planning to release the singer's debut album sometime later this year. The disc will include at least three cuts recorded with producer Rodney Jerkins, who has previously worked with superstars such as Michael Jackson, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige and Whitney Houston.
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Toscano –whose ouster in April sparked outrage among many fans including celebrities such as Tom Hanks, Jennifer Hudson and Ashton Kutcher – is set to release her debut single "This Time" on July 12th. The song, an up-tempo acoustic number penned by Rihanna songwriter Esther Dean, will be featured as part of Toscano's performances on the American Idol Live! tour, which kicks off tonight in Salt Lake City, Utah.