American Idol seventh-season champ David Cook has signed a recording contract with 19 Recordings/RCA Records and is set to start working on his debut album, which is currently scheduled to drop this fall.

"I am extremely happy to be signed by 19 Recordings/RCA Records. Signing this deal is truly a dream come true," said Cook.  "I am looking forward to the recording process and creating a record. The support I have received from America has been overwhelming and I can't wait to hopefully do right by them."

Cook's recording contract announcement comes a week after he won Idol's seventh-season crown, defeating David Archuleta by roughly 12 million home viewer votes.

Last year, the announcement of Idol sixth-season champ Jordin Sparks' 19 Recordings/Jive Records signing didn't come until nearly three months after she defeated Blake Lewis.  Sparks' self-titled debut album was released in late November. It sold 119,000 copies during its initial week of release -- the lowest first-week debut album sales of any former Idol winner.

The timing of Cook's recording contract seems to be more in line with that of other Idol champs. 

Idol fifth-season winner Taylor Hicks saw his deal with 19 Recordings Limited and Arista Records announced less than a week after his victory over runner-up Katharine McPhee, who had her own deal with 19 Recordings only two weeks after the fifth-season finale.  The year before, Carrie Underwood and Bo Bice's deals were both announced in early June.

"David Cook is an extraordinarily versatile and talented artist with an impressive sense of musicality," said RCA Music Group executive Tom Corson.  "He is a natural performer and a true star. We are thrilled to welcome him into our family."

The 25-year-old Blue Spings, MO native is already showcasing his star power as his first single -- "The Time of My Life" -- made its debut at No. 3 on Billboard's Hot 100 and at No. 1 on the Hot Digital Songs single sales charts after moving 236,000 downloads in its first week of release.

Cook's "The Time of My Life" represents the best debut numbers for an Idol artist since the show's second season when runner-up Clay Aiken's single "This Is The Night" b/w "Bridge Over Troubled Water" dropped at No. 1 on the Hot 100 after moving 393,000 copies in its initial week of release in June 2003. 

Idol second-season champ Ruben Studdard's first single "Flying Without Wings" b/w "Superstar" dropped at No. 2 on the Hot 100 the same week, moving 286,000 copies.

Somewhat ironically, Cook's 236,000 units sold in its first week matches that of original Idol winner Kelly Clarkson with her September 2002 debut single "A Moment Like This."

"David Cook is a remarkable talent and is a worthy winner of American Idol," said Idol creator Simon Fuller.
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"He has an astonishing voice, and is capable of truly memorable performances as he showed throughout the season. He's mature, well grounded and knows what he wants. It's this quiet determination that sets him apart from other singers; I honestly believe that David has the potential to go on to become one of the most successful Idols of all time."