Durell Coleman is the Rocky Marciano of "Star Search," the only winner of the male vocalist category to retire undefeated (13-0). "The only one I felt in competition with was me, like I had to go out and do better than I had done before," says the Roanoke native. "That was my motivation. I didn't have that competitive feeling towards the other singer. I tried to look at it like a showcase that would expose us to 28 million people, and one of us was going to return and one of us wasn't."

Not that Coleman didn't worry or prepare. "I prayed a lot and read the 91st Psalm and practiced self-hypnosis. I'd do all that and when the curtains opened I'd feel real calm." Coleman's 13-0 record might have been even more impressive, but he didn't get on the show until the ninth week of its 22-week cycle. The $100,000 payoff, incidentally, went a long way to secure a Los Angeles condo for the young singer, who will be in Washington this week to guest deejay on the Black Entertainment Television network. He'll also be appearing at 4 p.m. Friday at the F Street NW Kemp Mill Record Shop.

With an album on Island maintaining a presence on the charts, Coleman's not about to forget some of the jobs that maintained him while waiting for a break, like hosting at a hamburger restaurant, or being a male nurse. The latter job led to his current management: Coleman was taking care of a woman whose son-in-law turned out to be Tony Orlando. Now they share manager Sherwin Bash.

Still, Coleman is a little wary after his windfall. "I found that there were a lot of people who suddenly wanted to be my friends, but I'm not very trusting. It's not easy for anyone to get next to me; I always keep a professional distance. I've been that way since I started singing at 12 and found out that girls who wouldn't go out with me before suddenly would."