Buddy Jewell, 42, landed a record contract after winning USA Network's Nashville Star country-singing competition in May. His self-titled debut album, produced by Clint Black, opened at No. 1 on the country chart.
DEMO THE MERRIER: After moving to Nashville in 1993, the Osceola, Ark., native sang on more than 4,000 demo recordings for songwriters shopping their tunes. "I sang a song called 'Sinners & Saints' that ended up on George Jones's Cold Hard Truth album," he says. "Later the writers told me, 'All George Jones could talk about was "Who's the guy who sang the demo? I tried to sing it like he did."'"
DADDY'S LITTLE GIRL: Jewell's daughter Lacey, 9, inspired his hit "Help Pour Out the Rain (Lacey's Song)." He also has two sons, Buddy, 13, and Joshua, 3, with wife Tené, 38, an ex-manicurist.
IDOL THOUGHTS: "I've never seen American Idol," he says. "While their show was going on, mine was going on, and I was too busy saving my rear end to worry about which one of those guys was going next."