When she was growing up in Alabama, Diana DeGarmo told her mom that she never wanted to live outside of the South. And now, after a spell in New York and traveling the country, she says her little-girl instincts were right.
The American Idol runner-up says Broadway was a blast, but she couldn’t be happier with her new life in Nashville.
After finishing second to Fantasia Barrino in season three, Diana recorded an album in 2004, starred in Hairspray on Broadway and toured with Brooklyn: The Musical in 2007.
But just before getting down to recording an R’n'B/pop record late last year, the 20-year-old went to Nashville to appear on another reality show, Gone Country.
Diana says she felt "the buzz" there in Music City.
Anyway, she says, Nashville is the natural home for an Idol veteran. "American Idol brings out the all-American public, and all-American people love country music. It’s a no-brainer."
Now Diana, who goes into the studio in the next fews days to record her new album, has a house in Nashville, as well as a home on 13-acres of Tennessee country just outside the city.
"I always told my mom if I didn’t live in Atlanta, I’d live in Nashville and here I am," she said.
"I said I’d never live outside the South, and I lived in New York for a little while, but I’m glad to be back here.
"Nashville is a great town. It’s a wonderful community."
She said that with all the great work offers that have fallen into her lap after Idol, "I couldn’t be happier — things are really good." But, she added, "You never know when I just might pop back up on Broadway."
Right now Diana says she loves to walk her "weenie dogs", Dixie and Rosie, hang out at the Nascar track with Bo Bice and sing with her friends at the Buck Wild karaoke bar.
She can’t wait to celebrate her 21st birthday with her buddies in Vegas this summer, and their vacation to the Dollywood themepark, where Diana worked as a singer when she was ten.
With all that, Diana says, there’s one thing that definitely isn’t missing from her life: a boyfriend.
"I’m too young to settle down and I’m having way too much fun to settle down with one person right now.
"I’m having fun being a single, young girl in a big town."
As for this years Idol, Diana says she hasn’t been watching enough to have a favorite (five years on, she’s only just able to hear to the theme music without getting a sudden burst of stage-nerves!).
But she thinks David Cook has a Daughtry-factor that should carry him a long way, and she admits to a soft-spot for David Archuleta, who, at 17, is a year older than she was on Idol.
"David Archuleta is holding it down for the young kids this season. He’s so, so talented and he’s adorable and he’s got an amazing voice. I think it’s a no-brainer that he’s going to get far."