Late last month, Danny Gokey — the only top-four "American Idol" contestant who doesn't have a record deal yet — got fans buzzing when he tweeted that he was headed to Nashville for a series of meetings that had "nothing to do" with his charity, the Sophia's Heart Foundation.
It seemed like news of Gokey signing to a Nashville label would break any day. Then the weeks went by, and nothing happened. But from the sound of things, that might be changing. Soon.
On Thursday — just hours before the American Idols Live! tour invaded the Staples Center in Los Angeles — MTV News spoke to Gokey, who made it sound like he was not just very close to signing with a label, but to getting fitted for a 10-gallon hat too.
"I have a record label coming out [to Friday night's (July 17) tour stop in Ontario, California] to see me perform, and I found a producer I want to work with. His name is Mark Bright. He produced Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts," Gokey said. "There's no twang in me, but I love the message that country [has]. ... Like, could you honestly see me talking about, like, booty and shakin' it, being like, 'Hey, girl!' I'm just not that type of artist.
"Country music kind of houses the message that I like, and I can still talk about the things in my music that still goes on in that genre," he added. "And it carries a lot of meaning for me. So I never thought about it before, but I could see myself doing it, if we could just get the twang right."
Country might seem like an odd fit for Gokey, who won over legions of fans on "Idol" with his husky voice and soulful takes on Michael Jackson, Seal and Ben E. King, but he was quick to point out that he performed an Underwood song on the show and has been working some Rascal Flatts tunes into his Idols Live! set. And, looking at the current country landscape, he sees himself fitting in perfectly.
"You can talk about just about anything in the country theme," he said. "Think about it: Rascal Flatts, they're like really soul/country. And Taylor Swift, there's not a lot of country in her; she's got some pop to her. ... So I want to do something like that, like a soul/pop/country thing. It makes sense to me."
Get your "Idol" fix on MTV News' "American Idol" page, where you'll find all the latest news, interviews and opinions.