Beyoncé - "Schoolin' Life"

J.R. Taylor Choreography

Monday, April 11, 2011

Us Magazine reports that Pia Toscano has already signed a record deal, just a few days after being eliminated from American Idol. And she didn’t sign a record deal with just anyone — the 22-year old struck a deal with Jimmy Iovine and Interscope. You know, the same label that signs the eventual winner of Idol. Did they just give away the show’s main prize?

Earlier this season, ousted tearjerker contestant Chris Medina (the same one who made J-Lo cry when she had to tell him he wasn’t going through to the Top 24) worked with Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins to record a single, “What Are Words.” But Toscano’s deal, with Interscope and Idol mentor Iovine specifically, is exactly what the Season 10 champ would get — and she didn’t even have to win.

“Pia is being signed to a deal with Interscope Records who are rushing her into the studio to record an album ASAP,” a source tells Us. “Starting [Thursday] night after the show, Interscope told her they wanted her and first thing [Friday] morning Interscope brass started calling every top songwriter and producer in town to get an album together and rush release it.”

Though we don’t expect every eliminated Idol contestant to fade into obscurity — may we remind you that Jennifer Hudson and Chris Daughtry didn’t win the competition and are doing just fine — never has there been a finalist pick up a record deal with a major label while the season was still in process.

We blame the current strategy to strike not only while the iron is hot, but boiling. For example, Greyson Chance’s video of him performing “Paparazzi” went viral on a Tuesday. He had a record deal two weeks later. His lead single came out six months later, and he’s now off on tour — less than a year after he was discovered. Youngsters Rebecca Black and Savannah Robinson (the pint-sized powerhouse who had a diva-off with Jennifer Hudson) also scored record deals almost instantaneously.

But since Pia’s tunes are now being rushed out, it’s entirely possible she could have a hit song before this season of American Idol is even over. Doesn’t that take away from the whole point of Idol — win this show, and get something extremely difficult for an aspiring musician to obtain? Except it doesn’t seem all that difficult anymore, does it?

Then again, record deal or not, Pia may not be allowed to release any new music at all. “When you compete on Idol, you must sign one of the strictest contracts in the business,” a former contestant tells PopEater. “Not only does Idol own you for the entire show and live tour that follows, it also controls everything you can do professionally for a long period after that.”

“No way do the producers want a contestant who was kicked off having a hit record when the winner hasn’t even been announced yet,” say another former contestant. “This is about protecting the brand, not about protecting Pia. She can record as many songs as she wants, but Idol will refuse to allow them to be released for now until the show is over.”