Conscious about not wanting to bite the hand that fed him, Chris Daughtry apparently learned his lesson after previously stating American Idol is "definitely in decline."

"I can definitely say [my band's success] had a lot to do with being blasted all over TV every week [on American Idol]," said Daughtry in TV Guide's February 10 issue. 

"I think there's a huge group of people hoping to see us do well.  Some artists explode no matter what, and some artists would probably do very well if people paid attention.  And I think, with us, people paid attention because they already had a vested interest... Absolutely [because of Idol].  And I'm not trying to discredit our music.  I'm just trying to be truthful and look at the whole picture."

The former Idol 5 finalist said the success of his band Daughtry's self-titled debut album -- which has sold more than 3.6 million copies since its release last November and recently received three Grammy Award nominations -- "absolutely" lends credit to the talent featured on the Fox mega-hit.

"In our case, it definitely legitimizes what Idol is capable of doing," Daughtry told TV Guide.  "However, a TV show isn't going to do anything for you if you don't do something for yourself.  I used Idol as an avenue to say to people, 'This is who I am.'"

With Idol's seventh-season audition episode broadcasts coming to an end next week, Daughtry said he feels it's not enough to let contestants play their own instruments, a format change that was used for the current installment's Hollywood Round.

"I think [contestants] should be forced to write a song on the show and perform it.  That'd bring some new life to the show," he told TV Guide.  "Audiences would take it more seriously if it's not about finding people who suck and making fun of that.  We've already seen all the people who can't sing.  It's the same thing every year.  They should be finding people who are artists and trying to develop that."

Daughtry -- whose album was released via RCA Records, a Sony BMG label -- also weighed in on fifth-season champ Taylor Hicks being dropped from the Sony BMG recording family earlier this month.

"I think major labels are not for everybody," he told TV Guide.  "For some [artists], their vision of how they are creatively doesn't quite fit the commercial aspect of the music.  Hopefully Taylor will get an independent deal where he's able to be who he is.  Because the stuff I heard from his solo projects didn't quite sound like the stuff that he put out on the major label."

Daughtry's 2007 tour recently came to a close, giving him time to reflect on its three Grammy Award nominations. The group's self-titled debut was nominated for Best Rock Album; one of its singles -- "It's Over You" -- received a nod in the Best Rock Song category; and "Home" received a nod in the Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals category.

He said the Best Rock Album award would mean the most to him out of the nominations it received due to the categories title.

"Because that's what we are, and I want people to realize that," he told TV Guide.  "Whether it be rock with pop sensibility, we are a rock band."
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Daughtry added he has no plans to relocate Los Angeles because he likes having his two kids be raised in North Carolina with his wife Deanna.

"I'm home [from the tour] and learning how to be a husband and a dad again," he told TV Guide.  "There's so much I don't know about my kids when I get home... I don't want to look back and think I missed opportunities to make memories with my kids."