'American Idol' finalist signs record deal

9:05 AM PST 07/01/2008 by Ken Tucker, Billboard, AP

Kristy Lee Cook lands at 19 Recordings/Arista

NASHVILLE -- Season 7 "American Idol" finalist Kristy Lee Cook has signed with 19 Recordings/Arista Nashville.

The Oregon native, who is preparing for the American Idols Live! Tour 2008, will team with songwriter-producer Brett James (Jessica Simpson) to record her album between tour dates, with a release expected in the fall. Her first single, "15 Minutes of Shame," will go to country radio in August.

Arista Nashville parent Sony BMG Nashville is also home to "Idol" alums Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler. Pickler was previously signed to Arista at age 17, but was dropped before any music was released.

"It was tough, because you have a chance and then all of a sudden, it's gone," she told Billboard this year. "But if that hadn't happened, I never would have made it to where I am now. So I guess everything happens for a reason. I ended up moving home and then I auditioned for 'American Idol.' "
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