From USA Today:
'This girl is a star,' and now Tamyra has a contract
By Bill Keveney, USA TODAY
Tamyra Gray may have been eliminated from American Idol last week, but she got a vote of confidence from the producer of the show: It picked up an option to manage the 23-year-old singer.
"This girl is a star," says Tom Ennis of 19 Entertainment. "She has a very bright future."
Under contractual agreements with all 10 finalists, 19 Entertainment has until three months after American Idol's Sept. 4 finale to decide whether to manage any of their careers. Gray's option is the first to be exercised, although others, including the eventual winner, will follow, Ennis says.
The three finalists still competing — Kelly Clarkson, 20, Justin Guarini, 23, and Nikki McKibbin, 23 — went back home last week, greeting fans at show-related appearances. Highlights will be shown on Tuesday's show, now scheduled for the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.
Wednesday's show, which will eliminate one singer, has been expanded to an hour (9 p.m. live ET/tape-delayed PT), with a solo by each finalist, a recap of their summer on the Fox series and an overall assessment of their performances by the judges.
Gray's ouster may have shocked fans and judges who considered her one of Idol's best performers, but it didn't surprise her.
"I felt like it was my time to go home. But I was OK with that," says Gray, adding it was the first time she had that feeling. "I've had a great experience."
Gray's elimination drew a huge response. On the show's Web site (www.idolonfox.com), she received more e-mails after her ouster than any previous finalist, Fox says.
Last week also marked the largest audiences for both the Tuesday and Wednesday shows, with 15.3 million viewers for Tuesday's performances, a 2.6 million jump over the previous high.
Theories abound about Gray's elimination. Some speculate new viewers who hadn't seen her strong earlier performances tilted the vote against her.
"Everybody has their opinion, but the only thing I will say is that everything is legit" with the telephone voting, Gray says. "My performance Tuesday night wasn't the best, so everybody (probably) voted on the performances that night."
Some message boards were filled with debate about whether Gray's elimination was a matter of race. She says that isn't so. Finalists of different races and ethnicities already had been eliminated.
As with all finalists, Gray can't release any songs until after the Idol winner puts out a CD, which is likely to be shortly before Thanksgiving, Ennis says.
"Hopefully, sometime next year, maybe I'll have an album out," Gray says.
Evil, rude, snotty, and proud of it!