Kristy Lee CookView In iTunes
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Although country vocalist Kristy Lee Cook enjoyed some degree of success as a teenager, she didn't receive her big break until 2007, when the 23-year-old Oregon native auditioned for the seventh season of American Idol. Her patriotic performances and country gal appeal helped push Cook to a seventh-place finish, despite frequent criticisms from the show's judging panel. Born in Seattle and raised in rural southwestern Oregon, Cook initially split her time between horseback riding and singing. At the age of 15, she signed with manager Marty Rendleman, who had previously managed LeAnn Rimes during the early stages of her career. The good luck continued under Rendleman's wing as Cook signed with RCA, joined the roster at Arista Nashville, and inked a contract with Britney Spears' production company. Unfortunately, the deals all folded within two years, and Cook relocated to Dallas to further her career. She scored modeling gigs and commercial appearances while continuing to pursue music; an album of original material and cover songs, Devoted, marked her studio debut in 2005. American Idol came calling several years later, and Cook was officially launched into the national spotlight during the first half of 2008. Following her ouster on April 16th, she lay low until the summertime, when she left for a national tour alongside her Idol peers and inked a deal (for the second time) with Arista Nashville. "15 Minutes of Shame," her debut single, was released that August, and the contemporary country album Why Wait followed in September.