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EXCLUSIVE: Introducing Allison Iraheta and Halo Circus!

Allison Iraheta is undoubtedly one of the most awesome "American Idol" contestants of all time. Even when she competed on Season 8 at age 16, her awesomeness was apparent, as she held her own alongside the trifecta of that season's big boys (Kris Allen, Adam Lambert, and Danny Gokey). Her major-label album, Just Like You, which followed in late 2009, was one of the best "Idol" debuts ever--a righteously rockin' record, from its fun and feisty lead single "Friday I'll Be Over U" to emotive power-rock ballads like "Scars," "Don't Waste The Pretty," and the title track. But sadly, Allison was dropped from BMG not long after that underrated release. And then she took a much-needed break from music to regroup and get her groove back.

And man, is her groove ever BACK! Clearly the time out of the spotlight has done Allison a world of good. Now totally grown up (but still rockin' her signature neon-pink hair, of course), she has formed the new band Halo Circus with her longtime guitarist, David Immerman, and multi-instrumentalist Matthew Hager, who has worked with everyone from the Backstreet Boys to Duran Duran to Scott Weiland. (One of Halo Circus's songs, "Something Special," was even co-penned by Duran Duran's John Taylor! Squee!) Allison is rocking harder than ever before, and Yahoo! Music's Reality Rocks is delighted to premiere Halo Circus's first-ever online performances here:

Allison also sat down with Reality Rocks to talk about her sometimes difficult but ultimately rewarding journey from spunky "Idol" teen to fiery rock-band frontwoman...and it was obvious that she is in a great place now, professionally and personally. It really looks like 2013 will be Allison Iraheta and Halo Circus's year:

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