LOS ANGELES – Diana DeGarmo Supports Troops, Has Her Identity Stolen by Crazy Fan | Confirmed: Adriana Lima Preggers! | Perez Hilton Thinks Carrie Prejean Is 'Scared' of Him | Exclusive: True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten Thinks Australian Women are 'Brutal'
Diana DeGarmo was piped at the post by Fantasia Barrino during the third season of "American Idol," but the first runner-up is making her mark by making music for the troops, inspired by her visit as the youngest celeb ever to perform for our men and women in Iraq.
"We spent NYE in Saddam Hussein’s palace in Baghdad, then not even eight hours after we left there was a mortar attack, so as we were going through Germany they asked us if we’d mind going to the hospital and seeing the men, some that were hurt in the mortar attack were already there," DeGarmo reminisced to Pop Tarts in an exclusive interview. "I went through and sat with them and prayed with them. But there was this one young man - he was so young, they kept saying he was so excited to meet us but by the time we got to him he had already fallen asleep and the doctor told us that we had to let him rest because he’d been through a lot. There he was, this young man lying in this hospital bed -- all beaten up, cuts and everything. On his chest he had this huge tattoo of the U.S. Army, he was so proud to be there. It was so humbling; my job is so insignificant compared to what they do on a daily basis. That memory will always stick in my mind."
In fact, the experience tugged so profoundly at the heart strings that the pop princess/Broadway sensation is coming out with a new acoustic country album "Unplugged in Nashville" and has written one song entitled "Thank you" dedicated to the military:
"What do you say to the ones who've given it all/ Put their lives on the line when duty calls/ How do you give back to those who give up everything/ What do you do when you look them in the eyes/ When you know they made that sacrifice/ When words aren't enough to tell 'em just what you're feeling/ That's a time when the least that you can do is just say/ Thank You"
"I asked my brother (who serves for the U.S Army) what I could possibly do to show my gratitude and he said ‘sometimes a simple thank you is all we need to hear’ and that stuck in my brain," DeGarmo explained. "But most people don’t know I grew up singing country music, that’s what I sang right up until I did ‘Idol.’ Life brings you back full circle, my mom jokes that I came back from the dark side of pop music but I finally came to my senses and knew I had to go back to what I just naturally do."
Speaking of full-circle, the 21-year-old has "been in talks" and hopes to do another USO tour sometime in the near future.
"The thing is nobody wants to go over there, everyone wants the men and women to come home safely so we’ll see if the opportunity arises," she said. "But people forget we are still in war, and that hurts. I think people get government and the military confused and try to play one thing on the other, the people that chose to be in the military are a special group of people. 98 percent of the country won’t do it. We want them to return home safely, but we have to remember the reason they went over there in the first place. That job needs to be finished before we bring them back otherwise thousands of men and women would have died in vain in the process."
But when DeGarmo isn’t exploring her Nashville roots, she’s starring in a four-person stage show titled "Back to Barack" in Los Angeles, serving as a spokesperson and judge for Getscouted.com's 60 Seconds of Fame Talent Show (in which aspiring musicians, singers and dancers are encouraged to upload one minute of their best performance for the chance to fly to NYC for the finals) oh and, ensuring a crazy stalker (who reportedly called her 369 times, sent her death threats and fraudulently used her credit card) is punished.
"The only season of 'American Idol' to be aired in Australia and I got a stalker from it," DeGarmo said. "They caught her and she’s in jail. But it was really scary; I had my identity stolen and everything."
It looks as though the world’s hottest lingerie ladies, aka The Victoria’s Secret Angels, are putting on pounds - pregnancy pounds that is. Just a few weeks after Heidi Klum announced that she has her fourth bun in the oven, Pop Tarts confirmed on Monday that 27-year-old Adriana Lima and her NBA hubby Marko Jaric are expecting their first child together.
Last year fellow "Angel" Alessandria Ambrosio gave birth a couple of months prior to VS’s highly-anticipated runway show and it looks as though Miranda Kerr may have a big announcement of her own sometime in the near future. Kerr was snapped at the Cannes Film Festival with a ring on her engagement finger but it quickly disappeared when she stepped out in public with her beau (fiancé?) Orlando Bloom …
"Miranda is at home in Australia at the moment she if she is engaged she will probably want to share that in-person with her close friends and family," a Kerr source told Tarts.
Carrie Prejean has made it very clear that she has no intention of taking up Perez Hilton’s offer to "go for coffee and chat," but the Queen of Media thinks she is afraid of him.
"I think she is scared," Hilton told Tarts at a party last week. "I know so because she has refused to be on TV programs with me."
And even though Miss Universe owner Donald Trump said he would be more than happy to have the controversial blogger back at a judge at Miss USA, Hilton thinks Trump messed up by allowing Prejean to keep her crown despite her nude pic scandal and unauthorized press visits.
"He (Donald) made a mistake, simple as that. He made a mistake and opened up a can of worms, he is creating new rules as he goes and that's not fair," Hilton added. "He's being a business man, that is what he's doing. He is smart, you can never say Donald Trump is stupid because he's doing what's right for him and his business, and he probably doesn't want to alienate a lot of folks and it was the easy way out to let her keep the crown even though she should have been dethroned and had the Miss California title taken away from her."
Australian-born actor Ryan Kwanten has had his share of Australian and American ladies, but when it comes to breaking his heart it seems his native girls know how to hit the hardest.
"Australian women tend to tell it like it is - even if it’s the brutal, honest truth," the "True Blood" told the June issue of Women’s Health magazine which hits the stands this week. "I think American women usually break it to you a little easier. There’s a softer side to them."
But that’s not the only dating-related thoughts Kwanten dished about …
One mistake that women make in relationships "Try out the "I love you's" after a week or two (of dating). You have to give it time before you start (saying that). I like exploring the mystery of a relationship instead of laying it all out on the table at the beginning."
His most embarrassing dating moment:
"I arrived at this girl’s house and her dad answered the door. The guy was huge -- in my head, he seemed close to seven feet tall and 300 pounds. He looked down at me and said, "Can I help you? I said, 'Yeah, I’m here to see ... ' and I forgot the girl’s name! I was just looking up at him thinking, Oh, God, please don’t squash me!"
On how he stays in shape:
"I’m somewhat of a masochist at heart. I like to sweat. I come from a very competitive sporting background --my dad was a world-champion surfer -- so it’s always been a part of my DNA. I do a lot of soft-sand running, hiking, yoga, and boxing, and I compete in triathlons. But I don’t have a strict diet. If I want a beer, I’ll have a beer, and I’ve always been a chocoholic."
His hidden talent:
"I’m undefeated in Scrabble. I can figure out an opponent’s strategy and mold mine to offset theirs. I play a couple times a week, and I’ll often play a game on my bed by myself against myself, which I realize sounds completely mad."
Hollie McKay has a been a Fox News Digital staff reporter since 2007. She has extensively reported from war zones including Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Burma and investigates global conflicts, war crimes and terrorism around the world. Follow her on twitter and Instagram @holliesmckay