Photo: Russ Harrington
You’re an animal lover. How many pets do you have?
I love animals. Right now, I have three dogs and a snake. A tea cup Chihuahua named Moo Moo, a Chinese crested named Pixie, and Maddie who is part pit, part Lab. The snake's name is Boots.
You’ve designed cat sweaters for the ASPCA. How do you hope this helps your cause?
I’m so excited about this. This sweater is really cute. We’re going to auction off the sweater that I’m wearing on The View, and all the proceeds will go to the ASPCA. February is Cat Appreciation Month, so we’re going to focus on the kitty cats.
Your new album, 100 Proof, came out January 24. What was your inspiration for this album?
“I just kind of went back to the sound that inspired me to even do this in the first place, and that was Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, B. Wells, Merle Haggard, Waylen, George Jones, Al Dexter, Dolly. I love traditional country music, and I wanted to go in the studio and make my record, but a little bit of a feel of the people who inspired me is sprinkled throughout the record.”
You’ve had quite a few hits throughout your career. What song do you enjoy performing the most?
"Red High Heels" is always fun. Girls always wear their red high heels to the shows and dress up—that song is really fun.
You reached American Idol’s final six. Who is your idol?
It would have to be between Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, and Tammy Wynette. Aw, man. I don’t know if I can pick just one. I wish so badly that I would have been able to meet Tammy before she passed away. I don’t know what it is about her, but there is a tear in her voice that you can’t bury over production. She feels all the words that are coming out of her mouth, and you can feel it too.
Southerners know good cookin’. What is your favorite comfort food?
What are you known for cooking up in the kitchen?
I am known for my asparagus and my spaghetti, and [even though] I’m a vegetarian, I’m also known for my chicken barbecue.
What are your most-used Southern expressions?
Honey, darlin’, y’all, and git!
What’s your favorite thing about living in the South?
The hospitality and the sweet tea