Could the third time be a charm? Billboard reports that Kimberly Locke, who placed third on Fox's American Idol 2 this spring, will now become the third finalist to receive a recording contract. Kimberly has been signed by Nashville-based Curb Records and will once again compete with Idol winner Ruben Studdard and runner-up Clay Aiken ... although now the battle will shift to the marketplace.

Kimberly, 25, will record her debut album in Nashville, which is also her hometown. Footage of her meeting with Curb Records founder Mike Curb (who is perhaps best known for the Mike Curb Congregation's 1970 hit "Burning Bridges", which was featured in the movie Kelly's Heroes and almost earned Mr. Curb an Oscar nomination ... but who also was once Lieutenant Governor of California) will be featured on an American Idol 2 follow-up special scheduled to air on Fox on Sept. 24.

We wish Kimberly the best of luck, but -- other than the hometown connection -- we wonder what she has in common with Curb Records, which is primarily a country-music label. Curb's biggest artists include LeAnn Rimes, Tim McGraw, the Judds and Lee Greenwood (author of "God Bless the U.S.A."). Forgive us, but we think Kimberly's talents lie more toward the Stax/Volt Memphis sound than the Nashville one.

The mismatch between Kimberly and Curb Records leads us to wonder whether her signing is simply a quick-buck effort by Mike Curb to capitalize on the sales success of Clay and Ruben. For Kimberly's sake, we hope that's not the case.