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'American Idol' Alum Allison Iraheta Sits in With 'Tonight Show' Band for One-Week Run

"It’s been a blast," says the season eight finalist, whose new band, Halo Circus, is set to release its first single on Oct. 8.

Allison Iraheta 2013 L
Kevin Garrison
Allison Iraheta

With his band’s vocalist and former American Idol vocal coach Dorian Holley out this week for a family emergency, Rickey Minor needed to find a singer who could fill in on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. So he turned to season eight Idol alum Allison Iraheta.

“Rickey called me Monday morning and asked if I was available to step in,” explains Iraheta. “I received another call Monday night asking if I could also come in on Tuesday. Rickey called again Tuesday evening and asked if I could be a guest for the whole week. Who wouldn’t want to play with Rickey and the band for a week! They are like family, and Rickey is one of the great ones.”

By sitting in with Minor and his band for a Monday-Friday stint, Iraheta makes Tonight Show history as the only guest vocalist to sing with the show’s band for an entire week during Leno’s tenure.

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Minor was musical director of American Idol for four seasons, including Iraheta’s year on the show. “Rickey is an angel, and the band is the best in the business,” says the magenta-haired vocalist who has been sporting violet-hued locks on the NBC-TV late-night series. “It’s been a blast singing songs by Blondie, Adele, Rihanna and Fleetwood Mac.”

Being on the show has given Iraheta an opportunity to interact with host Leno. “He’s a very kind person, and he has announced me each night,” she tells The Hollywood Reporter.

It’s an exhilarating time for Iraheta, who is releasing a new single with her band, Halo Circus. “Gone” will be out on Oct. 8. “I am so excited to introduce our first single,” says the former Idol finalist. “Writing and recording with Halo Circus in Spanish and in English has been one of the most honest experiences I’ve ever had. ‘Gone’ is the first chapter of my new life and I hope people like it enough to hear more. I’m really lucky to be working with such amazing people.”

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“Gone” is the first single written by Iraheta with Halo Circus band members Matthew Hager (Iraheta’s husband) and David Immerman. “It was the first time I considered writing about what was going on in my life. Being dropped from my label, getting off the road – it was a hard time. For me, the song is about turning that corner from hurting to feeling.”

“Gone” wasn’t the band’s initial selection for their debut single. “We have another song that everyone assumed would be our first single. Paul Beahan (owner/founder of Los Angeles-based Badlands/Manimal Vinyl Records) suggested ‘Gone’ as our first single. It’s a cool choice.”

Iraheta and Halo Circus have recorded about 12 songs so far. “The album is due out early next year so we are putting recording on hold while we focus on ‘Gone,’” says Iraheta. “It will be exciting to revisit the recordings after taking some time away from them. Meanwhile we are really enjoying playing live."

Halo Circus next plays Hollywood's Hotel Café on Oct. 9 and will open for Berlin in San Diego on Oct. 10.

Twitter: @Idol_Worship