Curfews, chaperones and no drinking: Those were just three of the rules 'American Idol' contestants had to follow during season two of the reality show. Former finalist Josh Gracin tells Taste of Country that there were a lot of rules, but he loved his mansion experience. "I got used to that with the military," the former Marine jokes, "so it was no different for me."

This season's finalists have moved to hotel rooms, but a rigid schedule still keeps contestants out of trouble. The 'Nothing to Lose' singer shared that he keeps tabs on the show that launched his career in 2003, but hasn't had time to watch many episodes this season. Instead, he's recording a new album on Colt Ford's Average Joe's record label. The collection of self-written songs is due out this fall.

Gracin weighs in on why contestants in recent seasons haven't had the staying power of early season singers, saying, "'American Idol' really doesn't take that much time to get to know the contestants on an individual basis like they did when I was on the show. It's a much more filled show than it was back then. You know, second season, they were still figuring out what they wanted to do.”

Scotty McCreery showed Gracin some love during one episode this year, and the 'We Weren't Crazy' singer was quick to give it back via Facebook and Twitter. He says he appreciates being recognized in that way, and even has some advice for the young country crooner as he will no doubt be considering record labels and contracts very soon.

"Take your time, find the right people, really get to know them," he says to McCreery. "You don't want people that set you up for them to make a quick buck. You want people that will set you up for a career -- something you can grow on and keep building on and keep getting bigger."