The 2005 American Idol winner's first album went platinum six times over. Her new album, Carnival Ride, hits shelves on Oct. 23
How is Carnival Ride different from your first album, Some Hearts?
I had a lot more to do with this one. We had a lot of time to get in the studio, and I was involved in every process of the entire albummaking.
Where do you think you would be now if you hadn't been on American Idol?
I would have taken just about any job in the mass-communications field to get my foot in the door. I wouldn't have tried to pursue a music career. That's not practical, and I'm a really practical person.
What's it like being PETA's World's Sexiest Vegetarian?
It's interesting, but I think they need to go back and re-evaluate their definition of sexy.
Your hit Before He Cheats is about trashing a boyfriend's car. Have you ever really taken revenge like that?
[Laughs.] Not at all. I'm more of a pacifist, and what I do now is revenge enough. I'm like, "I have a really awesome job, and you have to see my face everywhere. So take that."
Are you a country artist or a pop artist?
Definitely country. If people know who I am and they like my music, they can call me whatever they want to call me. But I sing country music.
Next Good Grief