HOT DISH: Julianne Hough Is Singing Her Dream

More News on Lady Antebellum, Kenny Chesney, Sara Evans and Billy Ray Cyrus

(CMT Hot Dish is a weekly feature written by veteran columnist Hazel Smith. Author of the cookbook, Hazel’s Hot Dish: Cookin’ With Country Stars, she also hosts CMT’s Southern Fried Flicks With Hazel Smith and shares her recipes at

“I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to be doing!” exclaimed Julianne Hough. Backstage before opening a concert for Brad Paisley in Irvine, Calif., the peppy blonde told reporters she has no plans to return to Dancing With the Stars.

“This is what I’ve dreamed of,” she said. “Singing is what I want to do.”

For two consecutive years, Hough, a trained dancer, won the Dancing competition, but she, Jewel and Chuck Wicks are now busy on Paisley’s summer tour.

History Repeats Itself … Sort Of
Lady Antebellum, the ACM’s top new group, opening shows for Reba McEntire? A great pairing? You betcha, especially in view of vocalist Hillary Scott’s connection. At age 5, Hillary stood in the wings while her mama, Linda Davis, and Reba performed their Grammy-winning smash, “Does He Love You,” during their concert tours.

History repeats itself — well, sort of. These days, Reba and Hillary are creating the same kind of rabid fan excitement when they perform the song together. It just goes to show that country fans know something’s great when they hear it. And they never forget.

Is Kenny Going Island-less?
Rumor has it Kenny Chesney has his house in the U.S. Virgin Islands up for sale. And there’s talk he’s moved his boat from the islands to Florida. It can’t be because of the price of fuel, so I’m wondering if just maybe there’s a pretty girl somewhere near the Gulf of Mexico. Maybe someone involved in real estate? Hmm.

Visiting With Marty Stuart and Connie Smith
I’m always happy to see the delightful Marty Stuart and his beautiful wife, Connie Smith. I ran into the couple recently at the Longhorn Steakhouse near my home. Knowing Marty had hosted the Grand Ole Opry segment the weekend before featuring Jermaine Jackson, I asked him about it.

“Why, he brought ’em out of the seats,” Marty said.

“With which song?” I asked.

“’I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,'” Marty smiled as he shook his head. “The man can flat sing.”

Jermaine, the older brother of Michael Jackson and a member of the Jackson 5, was in Music Town to tape the second season of CMT’s Gone Country with host John Rich.

Speaking of John Rich
Watching John Rich host the first season of Gone Country and now watching him as a judge on Nashville Star, I’ve concluded that no matter how rich John Rich becomes, he probably will never get married. It would be impossible for John to find a wife he loves as much as he loves himself!

But you’ve got to give credit to him: He does a good job at what he does. As proof of that, pay close attention to how well he mentors the acts from week to week on Nashville Star.

Billy Ray Talks About Miley and Vanity Fair
From day one, I said the photographer and Vanity Fair magazine were to blame for those questionable photos of Miley Cyrus. Last week on Today, her daddy, Billy Ray Cyrus, said he wasn’t present when Annie Leibovitz shot those specific photos, but he emphasized that Miley’s publicist was there and that everything seemed in control when he left. Billy Ray exited the photo shoot early to travel to Washington state, where he was performing a concert for U.S. troops returning from Iraq.

“I didn’t know they were gonna strip her down and wrap her in a blanket,” he said. “I was surprised when I saw the photo. But stuff happens. That’s life. You’ve gotta deal with it.

Miley Cyrus is set to host the Teen Choice awards airing Aug. 4 on the Fox network. She’s one of the nominees, along with Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood.

Sara Evans Says, “I Do”
Sara Evans and her pretty boy former football star, Jay Barker, said the two magic words when they were married on June 14. It took place at an outdoor ceremony near her Franklin, Tenn., home while her three kids and his four kids sat on quilts. Sara’s 8-year-old son Avery escorted his mom and daughters Olivia, 5, and Audrey, 3, preceded them during the procession. The minister who presided at the ceremony had introduced the couple and counseled both of them following their individual divorces last year.

Sara had announced that the wedding would take place “this summer.” When I asked her manager, Brenna Van Meter, if summer meant June, she sort of stammered, so I knew it would be a June wedding. But June has 30 days, and I couldn’t learn which date they’d picked. Regardless, it’s my hopes that the couple loves each other and finds happiness together for themselves and their children. Jay’s kids are Andrew, 9, Braxton, 8, and 6-year-old twins Sarah Ashlee and Harrison. According to People magazine, Sara and her children plan to move to Birmingham, Ala, where Jay hosts a morning sports talk show on one of the local radio stations.

Jennifer Hanson in the Kitchen
Jennifer Hanson, a great singer-songwriter and a good-looking gal, came by my kitchen looking hot in a short red outfit that definitely decorated my place for an upcoming episode of CMT’s Southern Fried Flicks With Hazel Smith. Jennifer was all smiles when she reminded me that her cute hubby, Mark Nesler, co-penned the wonderful Keith Urban single, “You Look Good in My Shirt.” Love that song. And you smart people can purchase Jennifer’s new album, Thankful, at iTunes.

Nicole Kidman Wept
When Nicole Kidman and her husband, country superstar Keith Urban, viewed the ultrasound images of their baby, she wept. Any woman over 40 with child for the first time will surely understand those tears of gratitude. Bless the Urbans and their unborn child.

See the new Hot Dish recipe of the week: Double Coated Chicken Supreme.