CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - We are full-on, into a new season of American Idol on FOX19.
And right around this time last year, we were just getting to know the current American Idol winner, Lee Dewyze.
We caught-up with Lee's Aunt Mary and cousin Tim in Butler County, for an update on how the stars new life is treating him.
Lee's career, as you might imagine, is on the fast-track post-Idol.
He sang the halftime show for the Chicago Bears-Green Bay Packers game last weekend. He's a little jet-lagged from a radio tour he's doing right now, to promote his new CD, but we've got it on-record from Aunt Mary, life is good for Lee Dewyze.
"I'm his Aunt Mary," and not just any Aunt Mary. "People have stopped me and said to me, I know who you are and I'll say who am I?," she laughed. "And they'll say, 'You're Aunt Mary."
She is Aunt Mary Kleiman to American Idol winner, now bona fide rock star, Lee Dewyze.
And on her fridge is a photograph Mary said I took of her and her family, the night Lee won. She'd thrown an amazing viewing party for her nephew.
"I can't quite take it down," she smiled. "Even though Idol was a few months ago now, but this was the night we were celebrating up at the country club the night Lee won."
"Lee Dewyze!," shouted Ryan Seacrest and it was history, with Lee's family and neighbors going nuts at the country club in Westchester.
"He worked so long and hard for that," Lee's cousin Tim Kleiman said. "He just deserved every second of it."
Tim said, when it comes to Idol on FOX19...
"It's the biggest show on TV right now, and for him to win that, it's crazy."
On his famous cousin Lee...
"He's been goofy his whole life, fun and funny," Kleiman said. "Always playing songs and back in the day you couldn't get him to shut up and stop playing and now he's making a living at it, so pretty cool."
They hung-out at Riverbend, when I interviewed lee this past summer for the Idol tour.
"Oh," Mary said. "That was crazy!"
"Amazing to think that every city these idols visited it was the same kind of mania," Mary said. "I never could have imagined what that would have been like."
Mary said she couldn't get over the teary-eyed girls screaming for her nephew.
"It was great," she giggled. "I will never forget that. I just laughed a lot."
"That's what he goes through every single day," Tim said.
"I know," Mary said. "It's just crazy and fun!"
"Ladies crying over him," Tim said.
We asked if stardom had Lee making any huge purchases like cars or houses.
"He went to Hollywood a year ago," Mary said. "With a suitcase of personal belongings and that was it, he's just not a stuff kinda guy."
So, here we are, at a new season of Idol.
"Honestly this year, I am watching Idol with a whole different set of eyes," Mary said. "The stress level, there is no stress this year, it's all about watching it, enjoying it."
As for the new judges, the mother and son chimed-in.
"They'll never be another Simon," Mary lamented.
"The new ones?," Tim said. "It's a little bit too early for me to tell, they passed some people through last week that I didn't think would have gone through at all. Simon probably would have shot them down."
They hope to get together for a big family vacation soon like the trip they all took together, back in 2005 to Michigan.
"Yeah, this is us," Tim said pointing to Lee and him in several photographs. "This is me, this is Lee."
They are a close-knit family, who vow to keep Lee grounded.
"None of this is going to change who he is, how he is, how funny he is," Mary said.
Both said Lee would break-out his ever-present guitar and make-up songs all night around their campfire.
The family said there are plans in the works for a concert tour and they are trying to put the bug in Lee's ear early, to make Cincinnati a stop on that tour.
You'll get that word first, on your source for all things Idol, FOX19.