Bo Bice is happy being a loser.

In an interview in the new issue of Rolling Stone, the American Idol runner-up admits to not wanting to win, because he wanted to maintain his cred as a southern rocker.

"People ask me, 'What were you thinking while you stood there waiting for them to announce the winner?' " Bice recounts, saying the first thought that crossed his mind was "please, God, don't let me win this thing."

"The label American Idol was not for me," the 29-year-old Alabama native contiues.. "I'm not a pop person. It would have been harder to play my kind of music if I had won."

Bice came finished behind country crooner Carrie Underwood, who walked away with the title on May 25.

"When you go on American Idol, you've sold your soul to a point," judge Simon Cowell tells Rolling Stone. "If you try to revert back to being a rocker, the audience might say, 'I don't believe you anymore.' "

Bice hopes to persuade them otherwise by following in the footsteps of finalist Clay Aiken, who launched a successful solo career after finishing second to Ruben Studdard. The long-haired country rocker has inked a record deal with legendary producer Clive Davis and will release his debut album in the fall.

"I would rather put out an album of my own songs, and if it flops, it flops," Bice says.

In that case, he'd follow the same fate as Idol runner-ups Justin Guarini and Diana DeGarmo, both of whom released albums that quickly faded from the charts.

Despite his Idol pedigree, Bice has already gained the respect of at least one rock 'n' roll veteran to go along with his "Bice Squad" fan club.

Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora, whose wife Heather Locklear backed the other Idol rocker, Constantine Maroulis, earlier in the season, has collaborated with Bice on "Vehicles," a remake of a 1970 Ides of March hit.

Sambora played guitar on the tune, which Bo performed twice on Idol and recorded for the B-side of his first single, "Inside Your Heaven," due out June 21. The single has already topped Barnes & Noble's online bestseller's list and is currently number two behind Coldplay's new disc, X&Y.

"I just came in [to Idol] being myself. And for some crazy reason, that's what people were wanting," Bice says. "Which is why I am truly the guy who's the most freaked out about everything that's happened."

Bice has embarked on the promotional circuit, appearing on The Daily Show and Larry King Live. He's scheduled for guest spots on The Today Show and The View next week and The Tonight Show on July 6.

After that, he's slated to hit the road on the American Idols Live Tour beginning July 12 in Sunrise, Florida. He'll record his album between the 30-plus tour dates and should have the disc in tours shortly after the trek wraps Sept. 10 in Syracuse, New York.

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