Ryan Seacrest My New Chick Breaks The Mold ... Kinda

6/10/2015 3:30 PM PDT

Ryan Seacrest is trying something new -- a brunette -- because he's had the official BF/GF convo with bangin' hot former Miss Teen USA Hilary Cruz

We're told the couple met through mutual friends a while back. Things heated up in the last month -- they were spotted leaving dinner together in West Hollywood, and Cruz also hit the "American Idol" Season 14 finale.

Seacrest is a notorious sucker for blondes … having dated Julianne HoughShayna Terese Taylor and Renée Hall in the past, so stepping out with a brunette is a sea change.

Not a change -- her age ... at 26 and 14 years his junior, Cruz still has something in common with the rest of them.

It’ll be interesting to see how this one pans out.