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Kelly Clarkson, the first and arguably most successful American Idol winner, announced on her blog in late October that she has finished recording her fourth album. And while no release date or title has been set, producer Dr. Luke (real name: Lukasz Gottwald), who has worked with Avril Lavigne, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, and, most recently, Weezer, tells that a new single could be out as soon as December — and that it will arrive without a hint of country twang, as some had speculated.

If anything, the song, by virtue of its title, “My Life Would Suck Without You,” and the production team behind it, could be seen as a Part B to Clarkson’s monster 2004 hit, “Since U Been Gone.” As it turns out, Dr. Luke says he started developing the new song with pop maestro and “Since U Been Gone” collaborator Max Martin years ago. “After ‘Since U Been Gone,’ we wrote all these songs for Kelly,” Dr. Luke says. “This one, which I think is the first single, we had the chorus a while ago and added the verse more recently. They were going to have it out on Nov. 20, but it just got too late. So now they’re thinking Dec. 8 for a worldwide release, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that ends up being early January.” (A rep for Clarkson says the single has yet to be chosen.)

With a

new team in place (including manager Narvel Blackstock, Reba McEntire’s husband) and the drama of My December behind her, Clarkson exuded nothing but confidence in the

studio, Dr. Luke says. “It’s sick. She sings a song in two hours and kills it. You’re just, like, ‘holy s—.’ She has powerful lungs. She’s like the Lance Armstrong of vocal chords.”

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