Looking for love on the small screen

Devin Grisson, center, searches for love in "Sweet Home Alabama," a new reality dating series on CMT.

Pelham graduate competes in CMT reality dating series

By KATIE COLE / Lifestyles Editor

Collin Varallo was standing in line for the 2011 Schaeffer Eye Center Crawfish Boil in Birmingham in late April when he was approached by a man with a folder.

The man identified himself as a recruiter for a new reality dating show for Country Music Television and told Varallo, a 22-year-old Birmingham resident who graduated from Pelham High School in 2008, he would be a good fit for the show.

“Yeah, sure,” Varallo thought dismissively as he folded up the flyer the man gave him and headed into the concert. That brief exchange led to Varallo’s selection as one of 20 contestants vying for the interest of Devin Grissom, a University of Alabama student from Cordova, Tenn. “Sweet Home Alabama” pits 10 “city slickers” against 10 “country boys” from across the country as they compete “Bachelor”-style for Grissom’s affection, according to the show’s website.

“I didn’t know what I was getting myself into,” Varallo said in a phone interview two weeks before the show’s premiere.

The CMT recruiter from the Crawfish Boil called him the day after the concert. Varallo soon found himself in Skype and phone interviews with the show’s producers. By the end of May, he had packed his bags for Fairhope for a month of filming.

Although he was not a complete stranger to show business – he did some modeling in his “younger days” – he found the presence of the cameras and filming from 6 a.m. to midnight jarring and tiring at first, though he adjusted quickly.

Collin Varallo is a 2008 Pelham High School graduate who competes in a new reality dating series on Country Music Television. Submitted.

Varallo was tight-lipped about the competition and his performance in the show, but called Devin a “Southern belle that you would define as the girl-next-door.”

He did say the show would deviate from the over-the-top dating scenarios typical of most dating shows. Instead of jaunts to tropical islands, “Sweet Home Alabama” features walks on the beach and other Southern dating activities.

“It’s a modern-day love story,” he said.

Another storyline that Varallo expects to see play out in the series is the drama between the two groups of contestants.

“It is a rivalry,” he said. “You’ll see it is a culture clash over a way of life.”

Varallo, who owns Keepin It Green Landscaping in Hoover, said he is looking forward to watching the premiere. While he won’t reveal how he fared in the show, he hasn’t ruled out future reality series or even acting opportunities.

“It’s definitely something I see myself doing for a living or maybe as a hobby,” he said.

Sweet Home Alabama has an eight-episode run and premieres on CMT July 14 at 8 p.m.

SportsPlus

Alabaster Main Story

Alabaster juvenile identified as Helena Publix arsonist

Alabaster Main Story

From food service to food ministry: Paul Curcio to begin Brother Paul’s BBQ in Alabaster

Alabaster Main Story

Construction progresses on Alabaster’s new amphitheater

News

Pelham High School announces school registration days

Helena

New Vision Christian Church plans three-day event for August

Alabaster Main Story

Thompson’s annual football camp provides fun memories for Alabaster community

Columbiana

Columbiana achieves Tree City USA designation

Alabaster Main Story

Shelby Baptist receives national recognition for commitment to stroke care

280 Main Story

Grandview recognized for commitment to stroke care

280 Main Story

Chelsea’s Haley Trotter scores double figures in North All-Stars win over South

280 Main Story

Chelsea approves change to form of government, increase to future council pay

280 Main Story

Chelsea native Carter Frederick selected by Royals in 2024 MLB Draft

Alabaster Main Story

Thompson star D’Marion Terrell selected by Blue Jays in 2024 MLB Draft

Alabaster Reporter

Post 555 honors first responders at awards dinner

280 Main Story

AmFirst partners with Jax State to rebrand football stadium

Business

Pelham passes economic incentives for Edgar’s Bakery and Waldo’s Chicken and Beer

Alabaster Main Story

Osprey Initiative workers remove litter from Buck Creek

News

Birmingham Bulls announce 2024-25 schedule

280 Main Story

Oak Mountain’s John Shoemaker takes boys North-South race, Briarwood’s Mary Grace Parker finishes second

280 Main Story

Spain Park’s Carmen Britt wins match, helps North All-Stars win in girls golf

280 Main Story

Planning Commission approves zoning map for Harpersville-Vincent zoning beat

News

Pelham High School breaks records with AP exam performances

Montevallo

Braves draft University of Montevallo’s Logan Samuels, becomes UM’s highest draft pick

280 Main Story

Alana Price, Belle Casey crowned at inaugural Miss Oak Mountain pageant