By Grady Smith
Updated September 04, 2012 at 10:53 PM EDT
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

UPDATE: “You Are” will hit radio on October 19. Colton’s album will drop in Feburary 2013.

ORIGINALLY: He may have come in seventh place during Season 11 of American Idol, but angsty belter Colton Dixon has nabbed a record deal — and his disc could even hit stores well before the reported January release of Idol winner Phillip Phillips’ debut album.

Dixon announced today on his YouTube channel that he has signed with EMI/CMG (that’s Christian Music Group) under the Sparrow Records moniker, which is already home to fellow Idol alum, Mandisa, as well as the chart powerhouse Chris Tomlin.

Dixon’s soon-to-be released single is called “You Are,” and he describes it as a “worship song.” Though audio for the track is not yet available, Dixon has been performing an original song, “Never Gone,” on the Idols LIVE! tour, which he says will be available on iTunes Sept. 25.

The publicly (and to some viewers, too outpokenly) Christian artist, who never saw a pair of skinny jeans or combat boots he didn’t love, scored high marks with the judges for his sensitive rocker piano-infused takes on songs like Billy Joel’s “Piano Man,” Paramore’s “Decode,” and Eminem and Rihanna’s “Love the Way You Lie.” Still, after a week of competition during which Colton sang Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” and Earth, Wind, and Fire’s “September” (he later apologized to fans for not staying true to himself), he was eliminated, despite having never before appeared in the bottom 3.

Check out Colton’s announcement below:

Do you think there’s a spot for Colton in the Christian music world? Will you be checking out any of his music?

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