Laura Bell Bundy
Laura Bell Bundy grew up in Kentucky, but that doesn't mean she took the usual route to Nashville country stardom. She went to Catholic school. Her mother used to babysit for the family of Macaulay Culkin. In 1983 she was already acting in movies and off Broadway (with Britney Spears and Natalie Portman as her understudies, no less) by the time she was 12, and she hit Broadway a few years later. Her Broadway resume includes Hairspray, Wicked and Legally Blonde -- The Musical, which earned her a Tony Award nomination. She picked up assorted movie (Dreamgirls) and TV (The Guiding Light, Veronica Mars, Home Improvement) roles before self-releasing her first album, Longing for a Place Already Gone, in 2007. She sang about bad boys, good genes and chocolate addiction, yodeled her way through Billy Idol's "Dancing With Myself," then followed that album with a Christmas CD. But she didn't debut on the country chart until February 2010, with the goofy equestrian dance ditty "Giddy On Up." A hugely entertaining album -- half slow "Achin'" songs, half fast "Shakin'" songs -- followed in April.