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'Idol 3' winner Fantasia Barrino and runner-up Diana DeGarmo plan June singles


By Wade Paulsen, 06/03/2004 

Could we have a repeat brewing of last June's battle between American Idol finalists?

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The "upcoming releases" section of the RCA Records website shows a single due to be released by American Idol 3 runner-up Diana DeGarmo on June 22 -- although no official announcement has been made by RCA regarding whether Diana DeGarmo has even been signed to the label. Diana's single thus will be released seven days after Idol 3 winner Fantasia Barrino's recording of 'I Believe' comes out on J Records, RCA's sister label in the RCA Music Group.

The dual releases recalls the situation last year, when Idol 2 runner-up Clay Aiken (also on RCA, like Diana) and Idol 2 winner Ruben Studdard (also on J, like Fantasia) both had singles released on the same day: June 10. Both singles became hits and were certified gold for sales of 500,000 copies -- but Clay's single was the bigger hit, keeping Ruben's single from ever reaching #1 and ultimately being certified platinum for sales of over 1,000,000 copies.

One advantage to the one-week staggered release: neither Fantasia's nor Diana's single can completely shut the other out of the #1 slot in sales, as Clay did to Ruben, since the first week of sales for a hotly-anticipated CD or CD single is usually the highest. Had the stagger been in effect last year, Ruben would have been #1 for at least a week.

However, the planned single release raises a question: what song will Diana perform? Prior to the Idol 3 finale, both finalists recorded the song 'I Believe,' which was intended to be the winner's first single. This is a significant change from last year, when different songs had already been picked out for Clay ('This Is the Night') and Ruben ('Flying Without Wings') before the finale. The fact that RCA Records does not have a title listed for Diana's single three weeks before its planned release indicates that the choice of song for Diana may still be fluid.

Another interesting question concerns the lack of a formal announcement of Diana signing to RCA -- leaving open the possibility that if Diana's single bombs, Diana will not be given the opportunity to record a full album for the label. We would love to be able to report what, if anything, RCA Music Group chairman and CEO Clive Davis (who is also the half-owner of J Records) plans for Diana, but so far he hasn't chosen to reveal those plans.

OK, we admit it -- when it comes to American Idol, we're often curious about what Clive Davis thinks, and it's not just because he's one of the few Harvard Law School graduates who was able to move from legal issues (such as nixing Bob Dylan's release of 'Talking John Birch Society Blues' because the lyrics potentially slandered Birchers by saying that they shared "Hitler's views" even though he killed "six million Jews") to A&R. But it looks like we'll have to wait a little longer to find out.


(Photo credit Fox)


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