NBC's top-rated morning show "Today" has helped land a record deal for a singer who appeared on the show's talent contest last year. Kristy Starling, a 22-year-old Oklahoma native, earned second place

NBC's top-rated morning show "Today" has helped land a record deal for a singer who appeared on the show's talent contest last year. Kristy Starling, a 22-year-old Oklahoma native, earned second place in the program's singing contest, "Today's Superstar." This morning (Feb. 4) on "Today," she signed with Warner Bros. Records Christian Division, part of Word Entertainment. The record label's roster includes such artists as Amy Grant, Point Of Grace, Jaci Velasquez, and Sixpence None The Richer.

Starling's debut album is due April 15, and she will perform April 18 on "Today." She is recording the album with several producers, including David Foster and Richard Marx. The "Today's Superstar" contest drew over 4,000 entries, and the public voted for which singers would advance to the next round, culminating last November in the selection of the winner, 32-year-old Daniel Gardner from Atlanta.

Meanwhile, public voting for the second season of "American Idol" begins tonight. Eight semifinalists will perform but only two of the eight will advance to the next round. Voting results will be revealed tomorrow in a half-hour show airing at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT. The 32 semifinalists will be narrowed down to 10 finalists by March 5. "American Idol" has become Fox's highest-rated series, averaging over 25 million viewers per episode, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Simon Fuller, the man behind the "Pop Idol"/"American Idol" franchise, is now developing a TV series called "Second Chance" for former pop stars. In "Second Chance," the artists will compete against each other and the public will vote on which artist most deserves a comeback.

In other news, the U.S.-originated "Star Search" is expected to go international this year. Fremantle Media, the production company behind "American Idol," has acquired the licensing rights to distribute "Star Search" in countries outside the U.S. The show has enjoyed a successful revival on CBS, averaging more than 12 million U.S. viewers per episode.