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''American Idol'''s Justin rebounds with record deal

”American Idol”’s Justin rebounds with record deal. The second-place crooner will release his debut album early next year

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Justin Guarini, American Idol

Teenyboppers, your shrieks were not in vain: ”American Idol” runner-up Justin Guarini has inked a deal with RCA Records, a month after losing to diva-next-door Kelly Clarkson. The curly-topped smoothie will release his first single, ”Foolish,” in November, followed by an album some time early next year, a label spokesperson tells EW.com.

It’s not yet known which producers or songwriters will work with Guarini, who was trounced by Clarkson in the final vote on ”Idol” (he got 42 percent of 15 million votes cast). In the meantime, the 23-year-old can be heard singing cover tunes ”Get Here” and ”For Once In My Life” on the just-released ”American Idol Greatest Moments” CD. Along with Clarkson and the other finalists, he’s also appearing nationwide in the ”American Idol” concert tour.

Guarini was adored by many ”American Idol” viewers — especially young females — but faced criticism and mockery from others, including those who pointed out his alleged resemblance to ”The Simpsons”’ Sideshow Bob and disdained what they saw as his crowd-pandering tactics. On last week’s ”Saturday Night Live” season debut, cast member Maya Rudolph wickedly impersonated Guarini, winking at the camera and grinning unctuously as she sang ”Get Here.”

But if Clarkson’s success is any gauge, Guarini may surprise his detractors. Clarkson’s first single, ”A Moment Like This,” is the number one single in the country. Her first album is also due early next year — but presumably not the same week as Guarini’s. We already know who’d win that contest.