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'American Idol's' Colton Dixon Debuts Original Song at Tour Opener (Video)

"It's perfect for arena rock," says Dixon of the power ballad "Never Gone," which he performed for the first time at the "American Idol Live!" kick-off show in Detroit.

Colton Dixon Idol piano P
Michael Becker / FOX

American Idol season 11 alum Colton Dixon debuted a new original song at the summer tour kick-off in Detroit on Friday night. Dixon is only the second non-winning finalist to do so (Pia Toscano was first last summer), and “Never Gone” seemed well-suited for his set, which also included the Billy Joel classic “Piano Man” and "Meant to Live" by Switchfoot.

Speaking to Billboard.com before the show, the 20-year-old Tennessee native said he had “no idea how this opportunity presented itself,” but was going to make the most of it. "It's perfect for arena rock, which is why we threw it out there. Hopefully I'll have the audience singing along with me by the last chorus every night."

VIDEO: 'American Idol' Summer Tour Preview: Season 11's Top 10 Interview Each Other

A full-on power ballad, which Dixon begins solo at the piano, then is joined by the full band about a minute in, he also explained the song’s meaning. "It's like one of those things when you're a kid and you're in the dark and you want to turn the lights on just to make sure everything is where it needs to be," said Dixon. "It's kind of the same thing, personally, with me and God; I want to make sure he's always there, and he always responds with, 'I never left.' So it's just that cool picture. It brings comfort and hope. And if you're not a believer, it can be whatever you want it to be.”

Plans to release "Never Gone" are pending at the moment as 19 Entertainment has yet to decide whether to pick up Dixon’s option for management (typically, the company has until the end of the tour to act), but that’s not to say he isn’t working on more music: Dixon has written two songs with Lifehouse's Jason Wade as well as material with former Evanescence keyboardist David Hodges and Shinedown collaborator Dave Bassett. There’s even talk of potential co-writes with Idol winner champ Phillip Phillips while on the road for the next 10 weeks (the Northa American trek wraps Sept. 21).

Read more about "Never Gone" at Billboard and watch a video of Dixon performing the song at Detroit's Joe Louis Arena on July 7 below:

Twitter: @Idol_Worship