Inside move: ‘Idol’ winner to record quickly

Plans also include compilation CD from the 10 finalists

Viewers of Fox’s summer megahit “American Idol” won’t have to wait long to hear the first single from whomever wins the competish.

Simon Cowell, the snarly Brit judge-recording exec who’ll be producing the track, said he’ll have the song in stores within three weeks of “Idol’s” Sept. 4 finale. He’ll achieve that feat by asking all of the three remaining finalists to record the song — an original composition Cowell describes as a “big power ballad” similar to Whitney Houston’s “One Moment in Time.”

RCA Records has already committed to giving the “Idol” winner a $1 million recording contract that covers both the winning single and a full-length album from the winner that’s set to be released by December. Label will also release a single from the runner-up, and plans are in the works for a compilation CD from the 10 finalists to be released in October.

As for Cowell, he remained cagey Monday when asked whether he’ll be back for the show’s second season early next year.

It’s probably no coincidence that Cowell — whose snappy put-downs are a big draw for many viewers — recently signed up with CAA for representation. Execs close to “Idol” are already expecting to be hit up for a huge pay hike, though some industry insiders believe Fox and producer FremantleMedia may be willing to live without Cowell if his price gets too high.

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