Having whipped two consecutive celebs (Apolo Ohno and Helio Castroneves) into trophy-winning shape on Dancing with the Stars, professional hoofer Julianne Hough, 19, is two-stepping her way into country music. Her first CD is due in May.
How long have you been singing country music?
From age 3. My mom and dad put me in singing, dancing, acting and guitar lessons. Country music has always been in my house.
Who did you listen to growing up?
Faith Hill has always been my inspiration. Also Martina, Reba, and I love Dolly Parton.
Can a 19-year-old Utah girl really connect with country lyrics?
I won't be singing about anything I haven't gone through or know I can't relate to. I think people listening to Miley Cyrus and those listening to George Strait will all enjoy it.
When Billy Ray Cyrus was on Dancing, did he give you any advice?
He told me to keep my feet on the ground and make sure I remember the people closest to me. It's good advice—my family will always be No. 1.
THE SINGER RECENTLY DONATED CAREER MEMORABILIA TO THE SMITHSONIAN. HERE'S A PEEK AT WHAT'S ON DISPLAY
Three signed guitar picks.
The American Music Award he won in 1996 for Favorite Artist of the Year.
A guitar smashed during a '91 concert in Dallas. (He had it mostly put back together.)
One of his trademark black Stetson Tyler cowboy hats.
Well-worn elephant-skin black cowboy boots.
The black-and-blue Mo' Betta shirt he wore during his first NBC TV special.
His first gold record, earned for his 1989 self-titled debut album.
THE CD YOU'D BE SURPRISED I OWN
"The Foo Fighters. Their music rocks! They keep me going during my workout!"
"I have all of Brian McKnight's CDs."
"Maria Callas's Greatest Arias. It's a great CD, and I love her style."
"Daughtry. They put out a great debut CD. We're huge fans."
HOLLYWOOD CELEBS LOVE THEIR COUNTRY TOO. MATCH THE STARS TO THE COUNTRY VIDEO IN WHICH THEY APPEARED
"Crash Here Tonight"
Answers: Dennis Franz, "Goodbye, Earl"; William Shatner, "Online"; Matthew McConaughey, "Walkaway Joe"; Heather Locklear, "Crash Here Tonight"
5 THINGS I LEARNED ON CELEBRITY APPRENTICE
On Donald Trump's reality show, the singer raised money for the Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network and picked up life lessons along the way.
1. CELEBS CAN BE SO SELFISH
"I was shocked that some of the stars were playing like they were in it for themselves. I wasn't going to dishonor the charity I represented."
2. PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE
"There were times when I wanted to bloody somebody and then walk away. It was an exercise in restraint to stay in the game. I have a lot more tolerance than I thought I did."
3. BE OPEN TO NEW FRIENDSHIPS
Costar "Lennox Lewis and I have each other's phone numbers. He wants to come to Nashville, and I get to go to the big fights. And Stephen Baldwin. I had kind of bought into the press on him—that he was a total nutjob—and he is not."
4. BE YOUR OWN BOSS
"I wouldn't take a job working for Donald Trump if you melted it and poured it on me. I don't want to work for anybody."
5. OMAROSA'S NOT SO BAD
"She was brought in to provide fireworks, but she and I got along great."
WHAT COUNTRY SONG BEST DESCRIBES YOUR LIFE?
"'Redneck Woman,' because that's just how I feel. That's what I came from and that's what I really am. That's what I aspire to be, too."
BEFORE THEY WERE STARS
THESE SINGERS TOOK PATRIOTIC TOURS OF DUTY BEFORE TAKING TO THE STAGE TO ENTERTAIN THEIR FANS
Craig Morgan earned three Meritorious Service Medals as an Army Sergeant in Korea and Panama.
Josh Gracin spent four years as a Marine stationed at San Diego's Camp Pendleton.
As a Marine from 2001 to 2005, Stephen Cochran served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
A baby-faced Jason Michael Carroll spent 3 1/2 years as a Marine Reservist in Raleigh, N.C., rising to Lance Corporal.
Phil Stacey was a Petty Officer Third Class in the Navy when he auditioned for American Idol in 2006.
WHOSE CONCERT DO YOU MOST WANT TO SEE?
"She's a wonderful singer, and she has this feeling about her that really takes the audience by storm. I love her."
"I don't know if he's considered country, but he's got a country twang. He's my favorite."
"He took bodunkadunk and turned it into badonkadonk. He's like the hip-hop country man."
"She's got great music and she's very talented. I would love to see her live."
"Probably Toby Keith, because I've seen Kenny, I've seen Tim and Faith. He's the only one I haven't seen."
Eric Church and Katherine Blasingame
Jan. 8, 2008 Blowing Rock, N.C.