OFFSTAGE: Kree Harrison’s Top 10 Reflections

(CMT Offstage keeps a 24/7 watch on everything that’s happening with country music artists behind the scenes and out of the spotlight.)

Now that American Idol is over, runner-up Kree Harrison ’s country career is about to begin. She’s back in Nashville, ready to make music, and talked to me about all things Idol and beyond.

On how she felt when her name wasn’t called: “It was a win-win situation either way. And I got to perform my single at the finale. I couldn’t ask for anything better than that.”

On what she said to Candice Glover right before Ryan Seacrest revealed the winner: “We were both standing there saying how proud we were of each other, and I said, ’If they call your name, you better sing your butt off.'”

On the bonds of American Idol: “You spend so much time together, and you’re each other’s support system. So it’s easy to become close when you share that experience with those girls. Until the very end, you definitely have a bond.”

On Keith Urban: “What you see is what you get with Keith. He’s very genuine. He’s very sincere. I don’t think he knows how to be anything else.”

On the other three judges: “I really loved all four judges. I loved them each for so many different reasons.”

On the best day of her Idol journey: “I got to go to a children’s hospital in L.A. and learn about music therapy and be a part of it. It was amazing. It was best experience I’ve ever had.”

On the tough parts of her Idol journey: “I appreciated every moment, even when the chaos was at level 10 and you didn’t know whether you’re gonna be there the next week or not. So I didn’t take anything for granted — even when it got tough.”

On her new single “All Cried Out”: “I wish I would have written it, but I felt like they took the words right out of my mouth. I’m so happy to call it my own. I’ve fallen in love with it.”

On her favorite song from pal Kacey Musgraves’ debut album: “’It Is What It Is.’ I just love it. It’s so country.”

On being back in Nashville: “I’m so happy.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.