"If you were to ask me what I would be when I grow up when I was little I
would've been like, 'I want to be famous.'" Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood went to the spotlight when she was crowned the winner of Fox's
talent show "American Idol" in 2005. With her new title, she nabbed a recording
contract with Arista Records and released her debut single, the No. 1 Billboard
Hot 100 "Inside Your Heaven," on June 14, 2005. She will soon launch her first
album, which is tentatively slated for release on November 19, 2005.
Blonde-haired, green-eyed Carrie Underwood stands 5' 4" tall and is a
vegetarian. She was recently voted one of PETA's two 2005 World's Sexiest
Vegetarians, which she shared with Coldplay singer Chris Martin. The rising star
also starred in a Hershey's Chocolate new ad campaign and will be the next
spokesperson for Skechers Shoes.
Miss NSU Runner-Up
Childhood and Family:
"I really like the fact that I came from a small town because things are
different in a small town. Oh, when I was a little girl, you know, I'd climb
trees and catch frogs and go fishing and stuff like that." Carrie Underwood
In the farm town Checotah, Oklahoma, Carrie Marie Underwood was born on March
10, 1983. The youngest daughter to parents Carole and Stephen Underwood, Carrie
has two older sisters, Shanna Means and Stephanie Shelton (both married).
Carrie attended Checotah High School and graduated in 2001 as salutatorian. She
then studied mass communications at Northeastern State University and was a
member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority. While at the university, Carrie competed
in several beauty competitions and was voted Miss NSU runner-up in 2004.
A fan of Martina McBride, the Dallas Cowboys and Troy Aikman, Carrie still lives
in her hometown Checotah, Oklahoma, with her pets: a cocker spaniel named
Blondie and a puppy named Holly Wimples. Her hobbies include collecting bunnies
and playing softball, as well as playing the musical instruments guitar and
"When I first got to Hollywood, I was just walking around, taking pictures of
the Palm trees and stuff like that. And this guy walked up to me and asked if
I'd seen any stars and I said, 'No, it's been kind of cloudy today.'" Carrie
Having sang with the church since age three, Carrie Underwood enjoyed performing
at local festivals and later made her first studio recording at age thirteen.
She has been the opening act for "Diamond Rio," "The Wilkinson's," "Exile,"
"Gene Watson," Billy Hoffman" and "Earl Thomas Conley." She also once performed
with her five-member band "The Star Rise Band," singing various kinds of music
ranging from the 60's Rock 'N Roll to current Country Hits.
When she was in her senior year of college, Underwood watched a TV ad for
"American Idol" auditions in St. Louis. She recalled, "And I thought, 'Forget
it. Maybe next year.' That's a long way away and mom said, 'If you want to go,
I'll take you.' "
With her mother by her side, Underwood headed to St. Louis where she joined
thousands of contestants. She picked audition number 14887 and sang, "I Can't
Make You Love Me," by original artist Bonnie Raitt.
Influenced by pop and rock, but predominantly country, Underwood made it through
to pre-performance rounds in Hollywood where she performed Candi Staton's "Young
Hearts (Run Free)" and her idol Martina McBride's "Independence Day."
In the first semi-final performance, Underwood sang Tiffany's "Could've Been"
and Faith Hill's version of Janis Joplin's classic "Piece Of My Heart" in the
second performance. Next, she performed Jo Dee Messina's "Because You Love Me."
Joining 11 other finalists, Underwood was asked to sing 60's songs in the first
elimination show. She performed the song "When Will I Be Loved" from The Everly
Brothers. In the next elimination show, on March 22, Underwood sang Heart's
"Alone" for the Billboard #1's theme. Her performance received applause from the
jury, notably Simon Cowell, who said, "Carrie, you're not just the girl to beat,
you're the person to beat. I will make a prediction, not only will you win this
competition, but you will sell more records than any other previous 'Idol'
In the Top 10 performance, Underwood sang Martina McBride's "Independence Day"
(Songs of the 90's theme) and Johnny Mathis' "Hello Young Lovers" (Broadway
Musicals theme) in the Top 9 performance. With songs like Pat Benatar's "Love is
a Battlefield," Donna Summer's version of Richard Harris' hit "MacArthur Park"
and Martina McBride's "When God Fearin' Women Get The Blues," Underwood
astonished both audiences and jury and eventually arrived in the Top 5 finals.
Contestants were asked to sing Leiber and Stoller Songs and Billboard top 40
songs in the Top 5 finals. For this theme, Underwood performed Elvis Presley's
"Trouble" and Rascal Flatts' version of Marcus Hummon's "Bless the Broken Road,"
"God Bless The Broken Road." She then sang Dixie Chicks' "Sin Wagon" and Harold
Melvin & the Blue Notes' "If You Don't Know Me By Now" in the Top 4 finals. In
the Top 3 finals, she sang Roy Orbison's "Crying" (Clive Davis' choice), Air
Supply's "Making Love Out of Nothing at All" (performer's choice) and Shania
Twain's "Man, I Feel Like a Woman!" (Judges' choice).
Underwood eventually stood in The Top 2 finals show. In the first performance
she sang "Inside Your Heaven," Martina McBride's "Independence Day" (favorite
from season) and Guy Sebastian's "Angels Brought Me Here."
The finale was held on May 25, 2005. Carrie sang duets with fellow Top 2
finalist Bo Bice, singing Jennifer Warnes and Joe Cocker's "Up Where We Belong"
and with Rascal Flatts singing "God Bless The Broken Road." Having never been
one of the "bottom three" like former winner Kelly Clarkson and Clay Aiken,
Carrie Underwood eventually was voted the fourth American Idol winner, beating
Southern rocker Bo Bice.
Being the fourth American Idol, Underwood secured a recording contract with
Arista Records with whom she recorded her first single "Inside Your Heaven." It
was released on June 14, 2005, and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100,
breaking the Billboard chart's history as the first country artist to have a
single debut on top the Hot 100 Chart. On the B-side, a cover of Martina McBride
hit "Independence Day" was included as a bonus track.
Together with other Idol finalists, Underwood is currently touring the United
States for American Idol's 2005 Live Tour, which will end in September.
Meanwhile, she is working on her debut album with Arista Records, which is
expected to be released on November 19, 2005.
She also recently won a contract with Hershey's Chocolate to sing classic
jingles in Hershey's, Kit Kat and Almond Joy candy bar ad campaigns. Moreover,
she will be the next spokesperson for Skechers Shoes, following in the footsteps
of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.