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'American Idol' Alum Allison Iraheta Takes Up Residency at Hollywood's Hotel Cafe

Among the songs on Halo Circus' opening week set list? One the season-eight finalist wrote with Duran Duran's John Taylor

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Halo Circus, the band fronted by American Idol season eight top female finalist Allison Iraheta, began a four-week residency at Hotel Cafe in Hollywood Friday night, playing to a packed house. The group's nine-song set included eight original songs plus their remake of Duran Duran's 1989 hit, "Do You Believe in Shame?", recorded for the tribute album Making Patterns Rhyme, released in August.

"We’ve been playing Hotel Cafe a lot and they’ve been incredible to us," Iraheta told The Hollywood Reporter before she took the stage with the band. "This has been our favorite place to play. They reached out and said they had Fridays available and we said, 'We love this place, we love you guys, let’s do it.' This place is magical. You come in one day and David Gray is playing, or the new buzz band that's in town from San Diego. It's a really cool home for musicians. I love watching shows here, it's so comfortable."

Halo Circus is locked in at 9 p.m. for the next three Fridays and Iraheta promises a different set every time. "We’re going to change it up every week and test our limits as a band. We’re going to have some musical surprise guests."

Their first show included the song "Band Aid," written by Iraheta with husband Matthew Hager of Halo Circus and famed songwriter Paul Williams. During the live set, Iraheta explained to the crowd who Williams was, but the reference to the 1974 musical horror film Phantom of the Paradise seemed lost on the young crowd. It's doubtful if Iraheta could have evoked more recognition by mentioning any of Williams' biggest hits, like the Carpenters' "We've Only Just Begun" or Three Dog Night's "An Old Fashioned Love Song."

Also in the set: "Something Special," written by Iraheta with Duran Duran’s John Taylor. The song is one of 12 that Halo Circus has recorded for an upcoming debut album. "We’ve had the opportunity to play these songs we’ve recorded over two years and grow live," Iraheta told THR. "And then we have the opportunity to go back into the studio and make them sound more like they do live and change a few things."

While the four band members continue to work on their first album, they will also enjoy a few days at sea, joining a bill that includes Heart, Emmylou Harris, Joan Osborne, the Indigo Girls, Estelle, Shawn Colvin and Skylar Grey on the Norwegian Pearl for the Grammy Cruise at Sea: Women Who Rock. The voyage to the Bahamas is scheduled for Nov 4-8.