Carrie gets the glory, but she's not the only Idol in town. Eleven other contestants call Nashville home

By Kay West
December 07, 2007 12:00 PM

Simon, Paula and Randy were no-where to be found, but on Sept. 24 at Nashville’s Loveless Cafe there was a mini American Idol reunion going on. Bo Bice dropped by, kicking off his shoes and settling into a spot on the floor to strum his guitar. Josh Gracin invited Kellie Pickler to get together and write songs. Bucky Covington, a Loveless regular, raved about his favorite dish—chocolate-chip pancakes—to Carmen Rasmusen while Scott Savol changed into a brand new Loveless T-shirt. Mandisa arrived last, offering hugs all around, and everyone gave PEOPLE the latest scoop on their post-Idol lives.


What She’s Up to Now

She just released her third single, “Things That Never Cross a Man’s Mind,” from her 2006 debut album Small Town Girl.

Her New Nashville Family

Her rocky relationship with professional hockey player Jordin Tootoo is currently off, but Idol friends help keep the singer’s social life full. “Mandisa is like the big sister I never had. We are always in touch,” says Pickler, 21. As for pal Carrie Underwood: “When we run into each other, we have fun. We are good friends.”


What He’s Up to Now

Bice opened a music studio and started his own record label called Sugar Money. The singer’s sophomore album, See the Light, hit stores last month. “This time, I did it my way,” says Bice, 32. “I am really proud of the record and happier than I’ve ever been.”

Why Nashville?

“I love biscuits, gravy and fishing too much to live in New York or L.A.,” says the Alabama-born Bice, who shares a home with wife Caroline and son Aidan, 2. “Nashville is as far north and as far west as I want to be.”


What He’s Up to Now

Covington’s self-titled album earned him the honor of 2007’s bestselling debut country artist. The album’s lead single, “A Different World,” was a Top 10 country hit this summer, and the singer’s schedule is packed with tour dates until 2008.

Nesting in Nashville

The newly single Covington, who split from his wife of seven years in February, recently purchased a home near Nashville to be “real close to the lake” and put his beloved boat to good use. “I feel like I already know half the people who live here,” says Covington, 30. “And I’m sure I’ll meet the other half before long!”


What He’s Up to Now

The former Marine cowrote his latest single, “We Weren’t Crazy.” “My voice is back to what it was before the service,” says the married father of three. “I’m not shouting anymore!”

The Nashville Effect

“I feel like being in Nashville has made me a better songwriter,” says Gracin, 27. “Being around these great musicians and writers is so inspiring.”


What She’s Up to Now

In July the singer released a contemporary Christian album, True Beauty, and cowrote a semiautobiographical book, Idoleyes. She’ll hit the road in January alongside other Christian artists for a “Winter Jam” tour.

Her Idol Circle

“I love everybody, but I’m close to my girls [Pickler and Melinda Doolittle],” says the single Mandisa, 31. “I have their names programmed into my TiVo, so it automatically records them and I get to see them!”


What He’s Up to Now

Savol’s debut CD, Don’t Rush, is slated for an ’08 release. The 31-year-old pop singer is also planning a club tour.

Home Sweet Home

“My wife and I love it here,” the Ohio native says of living in Nashville. “It’s a creative community, so it’s a great place to live and focus on music.”


What She’s Up to Now

The Utah-raised singer released her first full-length CD, Nothin’ Like the Summer, in August and is currently on a limited-city tour.

Southern Progress

“When I moved here in 2004, I was not very realistic,” says Rasmusen, 22, who wed banker Brad Herbert in December 2005. “I thought I’d get a record deal in my first week, but it took almost four years! I had a lot of growing up to do.”



After the Idol tour ended in September Stacey, 29, moved his wife and two kids to Nashville to write and record. In December the Season 6 alum heads West for a six-city country tour, and early next year he’ll release his first major-label country CD.


After Thanksgiving Doolittle, 30, who was a Nashville-based backup singer pre-Idol, hits the road for a monthlong Christmas tour with contemporary Christian star Michael W. Smith. She’s also working on a debut album of pop music.


Sligh, 29, and wife Sarah moved to Nashville this fall. The singer is currently writing songs for a “pop-rock album with spiritual overtones” that he hopes to release this spring.


Scarnato recently called off her January 2008 nuptials with longtime boyfriend Bobby Krudwig, and the San Antonio native has relocated to Nashville in hopes of scoring a country deal. “I feel very blessed,” says the former wedding singer, 25. “I’m just going for it.”