Mike Terry, Deseret News
David Archuleta will be the guest star at the Mormon Tabernacle Christmas Concert this year.

SALT LAKE CITY — Pop star David Archuleta will be the guest star at the Mormon Tabernacle Christmas Concert this year.

The choir made the announcement Thursday morning on KSL-Newsradio's Doug Wright show. The concert series begins with a preview Dec. 16, followed by evening concerts Dec. 17 and 18 and a Sunday morning "mini-concert" Dec. 19.

Archuleta's music career has run at full speed since his runner-up "American Idol" finish in 2008. He also recently released a book, "Chords of Strength: A Memoir of Soul, Song and the Power of Perseverance."

Archuleta currently lives in Los Angeles but was born in Miami and spent most of his childhood in Utah. He says his singing career was inspired by a videotaped performance of "Les Miserables," and he began singing at age 6.

Archuleta joined the radio show by phone, saying he has been to the choir's Christmas concerts before and felt lucky to be invited and able to make the concert work with his recording schedule.

Choir President Mac Christensen said the annual Christmas concert is unparalleled in Utah, hosting an audience of more than 21,000 each night in the Conference Center of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "I just wish everyone could be there," he said during Thursday's announcement. "People are now coming from all over the world. We'll have over a million requests (for tickets)."

Performances are free, but tickets are required and will be distributed through a random selection process. Patrons may register online at lds.org/events Saturday through Oct. 18 or over the phone at 801-570-0080 or 1-866-LDS-TIKS Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

'Idol' pop star the choir's youngest-ever guest

David Archuleta, 19, is by far the youngest star to headline the Tabernacle Choir's Christmas concert. The choir has had invited guests to the Christmas concerts since 2000. Previous guest include:

2009: Jazz singer Natalie Cole and author and historian David McCullough

2008: Broadway singer Brian Stokes Mitchell and narrator Edward Herrmann

2007: London-based King's Singers

2006: Norwegian vocalist Sissel

2005: Soprano Renee Fleming and actress Claire Bloom

2004: Actress and singer Audra McDonald and actor Peter Graves

2003: Mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade and Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel

2002: Former CBS Evening News anchor Walter Cronkite

2001: Actress Angela Lansbury

2000: Singer Gladys Knight and actress Roma Downey