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Fantasia Barrino is a class act.
The American Idol star, 24, says she's ready to hit the books and earn her degree after giving up the chance to do so when she dropped out of school about a decade ago in the ninth grade.
"I've been talking about it for so long," Fantasia told me earlier today. "I have a lot of young people who look up to me, like my 15-year-old brother and 7-year-old daughter. It's something that I really need to do and that I want to do."
The singer, who rose to fame and fortune as the winner of Idol's third season, says she's back on solid ground after dealing with the possibility of one of her homes being foreclosed and put up for auction.
"I had to sit back for awhile and had to get some things settled," she said. "I had been with a lot of people not doing what they said they were going to do. I didn't have time to sit back and cry. I didn't have time to go to a mental health counselor. I had to keep my s--t on straight—excuse my language!—and handle my business, because it's not just about me. It's about me and my whole family."
Fantasia announced last month that an agreement had been reached so she could keep the home.
With that out of the way, Fantasia can focus on other things, like her award-winning career as well as keeping off the 20 pounds she recently lost. She's hoping to release her third album later this year. And, as is the norm these days, she's also shopping around a reality show about her life with production company World of Wonder.
On Sunday, she's up for a Grammy for "I'm His Only Woman," a duet with her "best friend in the world" Jennifer Hudson.
"I'm going vintage on the red carpet," Fantasia said. "I have lost 20 pounds, so now I can get into vintage, because the women back then were petite. They were very small."
She added, "2008 was a crazy year for Fantasia. '09 is totally different. '09 is my year."