Diana DeGarmo Shuns Heels, Hopes To Popularize 'Rop' Music

'American Idol' runner-up recording debut album on tour off-dates.

Fans following the American Idols Live Tour might have noticed a change in the wardrobe of one of the singers.

"I'm wearing tennis shoes," Diana DeGarmo revealed recently. "With all the stairs, sorry, I'm not taking any more chances with the high heels."

It was on those stairs where DeGarmo slipped and fell on July 27, bashing her shins and tearing a ligament in her foot (see " 'Idol' Runner-Up DeGarmo Injured After Falling During Tour").

"Everything's healing well, everything's in the spot it's supposed to be, which is good," DeGarmo said.

Although doctors advised against it, DeGarmo performed one song the night after the fall. "I decided to do it because these people came to see all of us, not just nine, so I decided to make that last effort to be the 10th person onstage no matter what," the singer explained. "It was very frustrating sitting backstage going, 'I want to do that dance! I want to be up there!' But now I'm back in the full swing of things and everything's rollin' fine."

Thing are rolling for DeGarmo offstage as well. On off-nights of the tour, she's been flying to New York, Los Angeles and Atlanta to record songs for her debut album. So far, she's worked with producer/songwriters Andreas Carlsson (Britney Spears, Clay Aiken), John Shanks (Hilary Duff, Michelle Branch) and David Foster, whose credits include Whitney Houston's rendition of "I Will Always Love You" and Toni Braxton's "Un-break My Heart."

"[Our collaboration] is one of the first songs he's written in years, so I'm proud to say that it's mine," DeGarmo said of Foster.

Like her own music collection, DeGarmo's album will be quite diverse. "I love all genres of music," she said. "I think it helps you become a better performer if you know the different types of music. [On my album] you got the few Celine Dion kind of songs, big-money-note songs, but we also have songs that I want to put on the radio for people my age to listen to, something that if I were in the car, I'd be like, 'All right!' "

DeGarmo has come up with a name for that particular style — rop.

"I know this sounds completely nuts, but it's like pop with a little bit of R&B, it's R-O-P, rop," she said.

The 17-year-old "Idol" runner-up, who has included a version of Melissa Manchester's "Don't Cry Out Loud" on her "Dreams" single (see "Fantasia Beats Diana DeGarmo Again — This Time In Stores"), is not expecting to record any covers for her album.

"With the show, we do so many cover songs, I don't want people to think that I'm just doing an 'American Idol' album," she said. "I'm really trying to find some really new cool songs from different people, no matter who you are, and just find something that's fresh."

As of last week, DeGarmo is balancing recording and touring with another major project — senior year.

"I have a tutor that will keep me up-to-date in my classes until I go back in October, after the tour's over," she said. "I would love to go to college, because you never know what is going to happen with your career and you always want something to fall back on."

When DeGarmo does make it to college, she plans to study business. She is particularly interested in the music industry, although she also hopes to get into fashion some day.

"Whether I come with my own shoe line or cosmetics, I think that would be so much fun," she said. "I'm so girly that I love it all. Maybe I could do the whole J. Lo thing with all the different lines."

DeGarmo is also inspired by how Jennifer Lopez has become a music and movie star. "I'm definitely interested in acting," she said. "I've done it in my past. I know I can do it, let's put it that way. And it's so much fun."