Tate Stevens fought a super hard battle to win X Factor USA Season 2. It was a grueling fight, with runner-up Carly Rose Sonenclar on his heels — or in front of him — for months. So, now that it’s over, the pressure’s off, right? Wrong.

Although Tate’s got the whole Tate Nation behind him now, we want more from the rising country star. Tate got off to a good start, finishing 2012 up by singing at FOX’s New Year’s Eve Live! bash at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. So, what’s next for the 37-year-old Belton, Missouri native?

Tate spoke to reporters after the X Factor finale on December 20, revealing, “Really my next dream is to make this record, this album, my first album and to be able to tour and live that life.  And do what I love doing.  I love entertaining people.  I love performing for people and I’m finally getting the chance.  I can’t wait.”

When will his album drop? You’ll know when we do. Tate has a five million dollar contract to fulfill and a video to make ASAP. If you ask us, anytime after ten minutes ago is too far away for our taste. But the idea of him coming to a town near us? Well, that’s the best news we’ve heard all year...

Reporting by Carita Rizzo