How did Ivan Oswaldo Lopez prepare to participate in Univision's singing competition "Objetivo Fama"? By appearing first on other televised talent shows. Four of them, to be exact.

How did Ivan Oswaldo Lopez prepare to participate in Univision's singing competition "Objetivo Fama"? By appearing first on other televised talent shows. Four of them, to be exact.

Before becoming the runner-up this year on "Objetivo Fama," Lopez had competed on a handful of other contests on Univision, Telemundo and local Spanish-language TV in Los Angeles -- close to where the Mexico native spent part of his youth.

"All these contests gave me experience in front of the cameras and the public," Lopez tells Billboard.com.

But even that experience didn't immediately convince the producers of "Objetivo Fama" that Lopez should be cast. After an initial rejection from the show ("I was desperate and ready to throw in the towel...I wanted to be a singer but I was frustrated"), he scored the opening slot at an L.A. concert for pop-mariachi star Pepe Aguilar. It was that performance that convinced the show's powers-that-be to allow him to compete.

The 22-year-old singer, dubbed "La Voz" by the judges on "Objetivo Fama," participated in the post-show tour in Puerto Rico, where the show is taped. He also landed a record deal with Machete Music for his debut album of pop ballads, "Ivan La Voz." Single "Si Me Dejas Ahora" recently debuted at No. 37 on Billboard's Latin Pop Airplay chart.

Though the album is a straight pop album (produced by Angelo Torres, who worked on songs for the TV show), Lopez has his sights set on another genre.

Since his father played keyboards, guitar and accordion for quebradita bands, Lopez was exposed to regional Mexican music at an early age. He hopes to follow in the footsteps of Aguilar and Alejandro Fernandez, artists who balance pop with traditional sounds. "That's my style," says Lopez.

Meanwhile, the singer is gearing up for his first solo show, at Puerto Rico's Centro de Bellas Artes, in January.