THE hype and hysteria have come and gone and as the dust settles after Port Elizabeth performer Melissa Allison's loss in the Idols finale, the young singer is looking ahead.
Instead of taking a break after the stressful competition, Allison said she was eager to "get into the studio" and start work on her debut album. She is also waiting to hear if she will be signed to Universal Music, like last season's runner-up Mark Haze.
"We were told [by Universal Music] that any of the top six could get signed ... I am waiting to hear from them to tell me whether they will be offering me a recording contract and if that doesn't pan out, then I will go the independent [recording] route or approach other recording companies to sign me up.
"Like I've said before, I would like to get into the studio and release a studio album as soon as possible," she said.
Allison may have come second in the reality singing competition, but it is her ability to perform on the big stage which she feels will give her much-needed staying power in the tough South African music industry.
She added that despite negative reports regarding the songs the top two recorded, both she and winner Khaya Mthethwa were given songs which suited their music styles.
"I think we both received songs they thought would suit us and I don't think he got the best one, because both songs are good."
After the finale of the show, a picture of Allison kissing top five contestant Simphiwe Gwegwe surfaced on Facebook, but she moved to extinguish any rumours that she was in a relationship or had any romantic interests in any of the other contestants.
"[There] were no romances that I know of on the show and I didn't fancy anyone. I'm not in a relationship at the moment, so I'm single," she said.
Allison, who now sports a tattoo with the inscription "Without God I am nothing" on her back, describes her journey with Idols as amazing and says she grew mentally thanks in large part to the competition.
She had the words inked on her back shortly after Idols ended.
"This journey has been absolutely crazy – from the very first audition right until now. I was nervous from the beginning about how the judges would react to me since I had left Idols the year before to fulfil my other commitments, but it worked out and I made it to the top two.
"I have grown so much and I have realised that it's a tough industry and I have grown a thick skin. It has been amazing working behind the scenes and I am really humbled by this experience," Allison said.
On returning to Nelson Mandela Bay to visit, Allison said: "I'm looking forward to seeing my supporters. [I am] very exhausted and will take time to visit family when I get the chance to, but I need to keep working hard."
Owing to the financial difficulties while Allison was growing up, her family was forced to move around Port Elizabeth. She attended St Thomas High School and matriculated at Intec College, but once she realised her potential, Allison moved to Johannesburg aboutfour years ago to pursue her dream of becoming an entertainer.