By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated August 26, 2002 01:15 PM
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“American Idol” may have given the boot to Tamyra Gray in last week’s installment of the Fox TV hit, but the contestant is not going home empty-handed. USA Today reports that Gray, 23, is about to be handled by the show’s producer, 19 Entertainment, which has picked up an option to manage her career. “This girl is a star,” the company’s Tom Ennis told the newspaper. “She has a very bright future.” Gray, whose dismissal last week shocked viewers and judges alike, is the first contestant to have her option exercised, Ennis said, though it is also the intention of the producers to manage the winner, who will be announced on the show’s Sept. 4 finale. As things currently stand, those remaining to compete for the grand-prize recording contract are Kelly Clarkson, 20, Justin Guarini, 23, and Nikki McKibbin, 23. As for being dropped from the show, Gray, claiming that she had “a great experience,” told USA Today: “I felt like it was my time to go home. But I was okay with that … Hopefully, sometime next year, maybe I’ll have an album out.”