Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina have officially gone from "American Idol" country darlings to labelmates.
The season 10 champion and runner-up have signed record deals with Mercury Nashville/19 Recordings/Interscope to release their debut albums, it was announced Monday (June 6). Mercury Nashville is also home to such leading country acts as Shania Twain, Sugarland, Jamey Johnson and Easton Corbin.
Though their full-lengths likely won't arrive on the market for a few months, McCreery and Alaina have already made a splash on the Billboard charts. McCreery's coronation song, "I Love You This Big" scored the Hot 100's Hot Shot Debut by arriving at No. 11 and started at No. 3 on Digital Songs (171,000 downloads, according to Nielsen SoundScan). It also logged the highest debut on Billboard's Country Songs chart (No. 32) for a brand new artist's first single since the survey adopted BDS data the week of Jan. 20, 1990.
Alaina, meanwhile, charged onto the Hot 100 at No. 20 with "Like My Mother Does," which began at No. 11 on Digital Songs (121,000). Alaina also enjoyed early support from country radio, as the song started at No. 49 on Country Songs.
In a statement, "Idol" winner McCreery said he's "humbled and shocked" by his label deal and "can't tell you what it means to me to be on the same charts as my musical heroes. I want to thank my fans and especially country radio for their support. I continue to be amazed by everything that has happened to me in such a short time."
Season 10 marks the first time that "American Idol" finalists have inked record deals with Universal Music Group. 19 Entertainment, which produces "Idol" and signs contestants to its 19 Recordings label, launched a new partnership with UMG's Interscope Geffen A&M beginning this season after a nine-year deal with Sony Music Group. Ninth-place finisher Pia Toscano is also recording her debut album with regular Interscope producer Rodney Jerkins, though her label deal has not been officially announced.
And looks as though McCreery has already gotten down to the business of recording new music as well. "Out of Summertime," a new song performed by McCreery, has already leaked online and is rumored to be the next single from the 17-year-old singer.