"American Idol's" Pia Toscano has officially signed a recording contract with Interscope Records, THR has confirmed. She will release her debut single, "This Time," on July 12 and perform the song as part of her set during this summer's American Idol Live! Tour.
The track comes courtesy of Esther Dean, who has written several hit singles for Rihanna, including "S&M," "Rude Boy" and "What's My Name," and is currently featured on Nicki Minaj's smash "Superbass." Dean wrote and co-produced "This Time," an acoustic guitar and beat-driven track.
Toscano will continue to work on her debut album, which is due out later this year. Producer Rodney Jerkins, who has recorded three songs with Toscano, told THR in May that fans can expect a "big, diva-sounding record."
Toscano shot the cover art for the album at Los Angeles' Smudge Studio in late June. Her official publicity photo is shown above.
Although she was voted out in ninth place, Toscano was widely regarded as a frontrunner for much of the competition. Upon her ouster, celebrities such as Tom Hanks, Jennifer Hudson and Alyssa Milano expressed their outrage on Twitter, while Ashton Kutcher told On Air With Ryan Seacrest, "I think she was probably the best pure singer on the show, and she's got all the makings of what it means to be a star."
Says Toscano in a statement being released on Wednesday: "I am thrilled to be joining the Interscope and 19 Recordings family. [Interscope Geffen A&M Chairman] Jimmy Iovine was an amazing mentor during my time on Idol and I'm looking forward to working with him and everyone at Interscope Records and 19 Recordings. This is a dream come true."
Last month, THR reported that Toscano along with season 10 alums Haley Reinhart and James Durbin had signed representation deals with Red Light Management (working in tandem with 19 Entertainment). "I feel like I'm in really good hands," said Toscano. "The most important thing for me is feeling safe with my team. I think they have a good vision for me and where my career is going to go."
The "Idol" summer tour kicks off July 6 in Salt Lake City, Utah and runs through September 10, when the Top 11 take their final bow in Rochester, New York.