With another edition of "American Idol" having come and gone, Harold "Bo" Bice is no longer the mega-popular TV reality series' reigning runner-up -- a development he's actually quite happy about.

With another edition of "American Idol" having come and gone, Harold "Bo" Bice is no longer the mega-popular TV reality series' reigning runner-up -- a development he's actually quite happy about.

"I was kind of wondering how that would feel," says Bice, 30, the Southern rock belter who finished second to Carrie Underwood on the fourth "Idol" season. "I felt we'd just be swept under the rug and forgotten about, but that hasn't been the case."

"But I also enjoy the fact that people don't just identify me as Bo from 'American Idol,'" he continues. "Now they identify me as Bo, the guy who's on TV with the video, the single 'The Real Thing,' and an album and everything. Our fans aren't just 'American Idol' fans; they're Bo Bice fans now, so that means a lot to me."

But Bice is proud that fellow Alabaman Taylor Hicks took the "Idol" title, and he feels like he paved the way a bit for some changes in the show that benefited this year's class.

"This year's show, Taylor's up there playing harmonica and there's some other guy playing guitar, and I thought, 'Wow, that's what I tried to do last year, and all I got was, 'You can't do that, this is a singing competition,'" Bice says. "People were like, 'Wow, they're breaking the molds,' but they weren't breaking the molds to me. They're breaking the rules that they made us work under. So I'm just glad to be away from it all so I can do what I want."

Bice's debut album, "The Real Thing," came out in December and has shifted 639,000 copies in the United States, according to Nielsen SoundScan. And while he says he hasn't started thinking yet about his second album, Bice has tour dates booked into October.