Carrie Underwood

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Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood 2, 2012.jpg
Underwood in Times Square in May 2012
Background information
Birth name Carrie Marie Underwood
Born (1983-03-10) March 10, 1983 (age 31)[1]
Muskogee, Oklahoma, United States
Origin Checotah, Oklahoma
Genres Country, country pop
Occupations Singer, songwriter, actress
Instruments Vocals, guitar, piano
Years active 2005–present
Labels Arista, Arista Nashville, 19
Associated acts Brad Paisley
Website carrieunderwoodofficial.com

Carrie Marie Underwood (born March 10, 1983) is an American country music singer, songwriter, and actress. She rose to fame as the winner of the fourth season of American Idol in 2005. Underwood has since become one of the most prominent mainstream recording artists in the music industry, setting and breaking several records throughout her career. Her achievements led her to be inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2008 and into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2009.[2] She has won a vast array of awards, including six Grammy Awards, sixteen Billboard Music Awards, eleven Academy of Country Music Awards and seven American Music Awards, along with being nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.

Her debut album, Some Hearts, was released in 2005. Bolstered by the huge crossover success of the singles "Before He Cheats" and "Jesus, Take the Wheel", it went on to become the fastest selling debut country album in Nielsen SoundScan history, the best-selling solo female debut album in country music history and the best-selling country album of the last ten years. Underwood won three Grammy Awards for the album, including Best New Artist. Her second album, Carnival Ride, was released in 2007, with one of the biggest opening weeks by a female artist in history, and later earned Underwood two Grammy Awards, for the singles "Last Name" and "I Told You So". Released in 2009, her third album, Play On, was led by the success of its first single, "Cowboy Casanova", and finished the year as the second top-selling release by a female artist. 2012's Blown Away, her fourth album, was ranked the second best-selling release of the year by a female artist. She won a Grammy Award for the album's song "Blown Away". With over 16 million albums and 30 million singles sold worldwide, and over $100 million in tour revenues, Underwood is the biggest American Idol earner, the fourth biggest album seller of the past ten years and the RIAA's tenth top digital artist of all time. Additionally, Forbes estimates that she is worth over $100 million.

Described by music critics as Country Music's reigning Queen, Underwood is the only solo country artist in the 2000s decade to have a number one hit on the Billboard Hot 100 and the first and only country artist to ever debut at number one on the Hot 100, as "Inside Your Heaven" topped the chart in 2005. She is also the female country artist with the most number one hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, from 1991 to present, having 13 number one's and breaking her own Guinness Book record of ten. Some Hearts was named the No. 1 Country Album of the 2000 Decade by Billboard and she was the top-ranked female artist on Billboard's Best Country Artists of the 2000 Decade list. Time has listed Underwood as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Early life

Underwood was born to Stephen and Carole Underwood on March 10, 1983, in Muskogee, Oklahoma. She was raised on her parents' farm in the nearby rural town of Checotah.[3] Her father worked in a sawmill, while her mother taught elementary school.[4] She has two older sisters, Shanna and Stephanie.[5][6] During her childhood, Underwood performed at Robbins Memorial Talent Show, and sang at her local church, First Free Will Baptist Church.[7] She later sang for local events in Checotah, including Old Settler's Day and the Lion's Club.[8]

A local admirer arranged for her to go to Nashville when she was 14 to audition for Capitol Records.[7] In 1996, Capitol Records was preparing a contract for Underwood but cancelled it when company management changed. Underwood said of the event, "I honestly think it's a lot better that nothing came out of it now, because I wouldn't have been ready then. Everything has a way of working out."[9] While at Checotah High School, she was an Honor Society member, a cheerleader, and played basketball and softball.[10] Underwood graduated from Checotah High School in 2001 as salutatorian.[8] She chose not to pursue singing after graduation. She said, "After high school, I pretty much gave up on the dream of singing. I had reached a point in my life where I had to be practical and prepare for my future in the 'real world'".[10] She attended Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, graduating magna cum laude in 2006 with a bachelor's degree in mass communication and an emphasis in journalism.[11] She spent part of one of her summers as a page for Oklahoma State Representative Bobby Frame.[12] She also waited tables at a pizzeria, worked at a zoo, and at a veterinary clinic.[10] Underwood is an alumna of the Alpha Iota chapter of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority.[13] For two years during the summer, she performed in Northeastern State University's Downtown Country show in Tahlequah. She also competed in numerous beauty pageants at the university and was selected as Miss NSU runner-up in 2004.[14]

Career

2004–05: American Idol

In the summer of 2004, Underwood auditioned for American Idol in St. Louis, Missouri. After she sang "Could've Been" by Tiffany on the top 12 girls night, judge Simon Cowell commented that she would be one of the favorites to win the competition.[15][16] During the top 11 finalists' performance on the March 22, 2005, Idol episode, Underwood sang a rendition of the number one 1980s rock hit "Alone", made famous by Heart, and Cowell predicted that Underwood would not only win the competition, but she would also outsell all previous Idol winners.[17] One of the show's producers later said she dominated the voting, winning every week handily.[18][19] She gained a fan base known as "Carrie's Care Bears" during the course of the show. During the final, she sang with Rascal Flatts their song "Bless the Broken Road".[20] On May 25, 2005, Underwood became the season four winner. Her winnings included a recording contract worth at least a million dollars, use of a private jet for a year, and a Ford Mustang convertible.[21]

American Idol season 4 performances and results
Episode Theme Song Original artist Order Result
Auditions Contestant's choice "I Can't Make You Love Me" Bonnie Raitt N/A Advanced
Hollywood "Young Hearts Run Free" Candi Staton
Top 75 "Independence Day" Martina McBride
Top 24 (12 women) "Could've Been" Tiffany 5 Safe
Top 20 (10 women) "Piece of My Heart" Erma Franklin 9
Top 16 (8 women) "Because You Love Me" Jo Dee Messina 3
Top 12 Song of the 1960s "When Will I Be Loved" The Everly Brothers 11
Top 11 Billboard number ones "Alone" i-TEN 2
Top 10 1990s "Independence Day" Martina McBride 8
Top 9 Classic Broadway "Hello, Young Lovers" The King and I cast 3
Top 8 Year they were born "Love Is a Battlefield" Pat Benatar 7
Top 7 1970s dance music "MacArthur Park" Richard Harris 2
Top 6 21st Century "When God-Fearin' Women Get the Blues" Martina McBride 1
Top 5 Leiber & Stoller "Trouble" Elvis Presley 5
Current Billboard chart "Bless the Broken Road" Nitty Gritty Dirt Band 10
Top 4 Country "Sin Wagon" Dixie Chicks 1
Gamble & Huff "If You Don't Know Me by Now" Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes 5
Top 3 Clive Davis' choice "Crying" Roy Orbison 3
Contestant's choice "Making Love Out of Nothing at All" Air Supply 6
Judge's choice (Randy Jackson) "Man! I Feel Like a Woman!" Shania Twain 9
Final 2 Idol single "Inside Your Heaven" Carrie Underwood/Bo Bice 2 Winner
Contestant's choice "Independence Day" Martina McBride 4
Producer's choice "Angels Brought Me Here" Guy Sebastian 6

2005–07: Breakthrough and major success with Some Hearts

Underwood performing at the World Arena in December 2006

Underwood's music career began with the release of her first single, "Inside Your Heaven", on June 14, 2005. The song debuted at number one on the Billboard Hot 100, with Underwood becoming only the third artist to bow in the top slot since chart policy changed in 1998.[22] She also broke Billboard chart history as the first country music artist ever to debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100 and the song became the first song from a country artist to go to No. 1 on the Hot 100 since country group Lonestar's "Amazed" did so in 2000.[23] "Inside Your Heaven" is the only single by a solo country artist in the 2000 decade to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[24] It also debuted at number one on the Billboard Pop 100 and on the Canadian Singles Chart, topping it for seven consecutive weeks, becoming the longest running single of 2005 in Canada. It sold nearly one million copies and was certified gold by the RIAA and two times platinum by the CRIA.[25][26] Underwood's debut album, Some Hearts, was released on November 15, 2005, entering the Billboard charts with 315,000 copies sold, debuting at number one on the Billboard Top Country Albums and at number two on the Billboard 200.[27] The large first week sales of Some Hearts made it the biggest debut of any country artist since the advent of the SoundScan system in 1991.[28] Some Hearts became the best-selling album of 2006 in all genres in the United States.[29] The album was also the best-selling country album of both 2006 and 2007, making Underwood the first female artist in Billboard history to earn back-to-back honors for Top Country Album.[30] Additionally, it was the best-selling female country album of 2005, 2006 and 2007.[31] Some Hearts has since been certified seven times Platinum by the RIAA, and is the fastest-selling debut country album in the history of the SoundScan era,[32][33] the best-selling solo female debut album in country music history,[34] the best-selling Country album of the last 10 years,[35] and the best-selling album by an American Idol alumni in the U.S.[36] The album's second single,[37] "Jesus, Take the Wheel" was released to radio in October and later peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs, topping it for six consecutive weeks, and at twenty on the Hot 100.[38] The song sold over two million copies and was certified 2-time Platinum by the RIAA.[39] Underwood's third single, "Some Hearts", was also released in October, but just to the pop radios. "Don't Forget to Remember Me", her fourth single, also proved successful, reaching number two on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Later that autumn, Underwood's third country single,[37] "Before He Cheats", hit number one on Billboard's Hot Country Songs, staying there for 5 consecutive weeks.[40] The song peaked at number eight on the Billboard Hot 100, achieving the slowest climb ever to the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, breaking the record that was previously held by Creed from July 2000.[41] In February 2008, when it was certified two-time Platinum, "Before He Cheats" became the first country song to ever be certified multi-platinum by the RIAA.[42] It has now been certified four times Platinum, selling nearly four million copies, and is the fourth best-selling country digital song of all time.[25][43] On April 11, 2007, Underwood continued her streak of top Country singles with the release of "Wasted", which peaked at number one on the Hot Country Songs Chart, sold nearly one million copies and was certified Gold by the RIAA.[44] In August 2008, the "Jesus, Take the Wheel" ringtone was reported to have been certified Platinum, making Underwood the first country artist ever to have two songs hit Platinum Mastertone status together with "Before He Cheats", which had been certified earlier in 2007.[45] Underwood started her first headlined tour, Carrie Underwood: Live 2006, with dates across North America.

Underwood performing in Iraq, in December 2006

At the 2005 Billboard Music Awards, her hit song "Inside Your Heaven" won the coveted Top-Selling Hot 100 Song of the Year award and also Top-Selling Country Single of the Year award, and she won Country Single Sales Artist of the Year.[46] At the 2006 Academy of Country Music Awards, she won Top New Female Vocalist and Single of the Year, for "Jesus, Take the Wheel".[47] At the 40th Annual Country Music Association Awards she won both the Horizon Award (now New Artist of the Year) and Female Vocalist of the Year.[48] At the 2006 CMT Awards, Underwood won both the Breakthrough Video of the Year and Female Video of the Year for "Jesus, Take The Wheel".[49] She later won the Breakthrough Artist of the Year Award at the American Music Awards, and was also nominated for Favorite Female Country Artist.[50] She won 5 awards at the 2006 Billboard Music Awards, including the coveted Album of the Year, Top 200 Female Artist of the Year, Female Country Artist, New Country Artist, and Country Album of the Year.[51] Also that year, Underwood won a Gospel Music Association (GMA) Dove Award for Country Recorded Song of the Year, for "Jesus, Take The Wheel".[52] At the Academy of Country Music Awards in 2007, Underwood won Album of the Year, Video of the Year, and Female Vocalist of the Year.[53] She was nominated for "World's Best Selling New Artist" at the 2006 World Music Awards. At the 2007 CMT Awards in Nashville, Tennessee, on April 16, Underwood's "Before He Cheats" won three awards, including Video of the Year, Female Video of the Year, and Video Director of the Year.[54] Underwood won two awards at the 2007 CMA Awards: Female Vocalist of the Year, for the second consecutive time, and Single Record of the Year, for "Before He Cheats".[55] In 2007, at the 49th Grammy Awards, Some Hearts received four Grammy nominations and Underwood won her first two Grammy Awards: Best New Artist and Best Female Country Vocal Performance for "Jesus, Take the Wheel.[56] By winning the Best New Artist Grammy Award, Underwood became only the second country artist to ever win the award in the 56-year history of the Grammy Awards, following LeAnn Rimes (1997).[57] She sang the Eagles song "Life in the Fast Lane" alongside Grammy nominees Rascal Flatts. She also sang the Eagles' "Desperado" to honour Don Henley of The Eagles. She also paid tribute to Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys by performing "New San Antonio Rose". At the 50th Grammy Awards, in 2008, Underwood was nominated for two more Grammys: Best Female Country Vocal Performance, for "Before He Cheats" and Best Country Collaboration with Vocals, for "Oh, Love" a duet with Brad Paisley. She won one Grammy Award that night, for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, and performed the song at the ceremony.[58]

In December 2005, Underwood was named Oklahoman of the Year by Oklahoma Today.[59] In December 2006, Underwood joined Tony Bennett, Michael Bublé and Josh Groban to sing "For Once In My Life" on The Oprah Winfrey Show.[60] Also that month, she paid tribute to Dolly Parton, by singing "Islands in the Stream" with Kenny Rogers (originally by Parton and Rogers) at the Kennedy Center Honors, which honored Parton that year.[61] Underwood performed with the USO Christmas Tour in Iraq during the 2006 Holiday season.[62] Underwood also performed at the 2007 Idol Gives Back concert, singing "I'll Stand By You", a cover of The Pretenders hit. Her version of the song debuted at number six on Billboard's Hot 100 Songs.[63] In 2007, Forbes reported that Underwood earned over $7 million between June 2006 and June 2007.[64] Also in 2007, Victoria's Secret named Underwood the Sexiest Female Musician.[65]

2007–09: Carnival Ride, wider success and acclaim

Underwood at the American Idol Experience premiere, February 2009

Underwood's second album, Carnival Ride,[66] was released in October 2007.[67] On Carnival Ride, Underwood was more involved in the songwriting process; she set up a writers' retreat at Nashville's famed Ryman Auditorium to collaborate with such Music Row tunesmiths as Hillary Lindsey, Craig Wiseman, Rivers Rutherford, and Gordie Sampson.[68] Carnival Ride moved over 527,000 copies in its first week, debuting at number one on both the Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums, as well as number one on the Canadian Albums Chart, one of the biggest first-week sales by a female artist.[69] Carnival Ride was certified double platinum in just two months after its release, in December.[70] The album is certified 3-time Platinum by the RIAA, for sales of over three million. "So Small", the first single from the album, was released in July 2007 and reached number one on Billboard's Hot Country Songs, topping it for three consecutive weeks.[71] "All-American Girl", the second single, also reached number 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs. The next single, "Last Name", reached number one on the Hot Country Song chart as well. This made Underwood the first female artist to have two consecutive albums each release three number-ones on this chart since Shania Twain in 1998. "Just a Dream", the album's next single, was released on July 2008 and later peaked at number one on the Hot Country Songs chart, staying there for 2 consecutive weeks. With that, Underwood became the first solo female artist to pull four No. 1s from one album since Twain did it with The Woman in Me.[72] The album's fifth single, "I Told You So", a duet with the original singer of the song, Randy Travis, was released in February 2009. It peaked at number two on the Billboard Country charts and number nine on the Hot 100. All singles from Carnival Ride were certified Platinum by the RIAA, for selling more than one million copies each.[39] In January 2008, Underwood embarked on a joint tour with Keith Urban named the Love, Pain and the Whole Crazy Carnival Ride Tour, with dates fixed nationwide that continued through April.[73] She then started her headlined tour, the Carnival Ride Tour, in February 2008, with dates across all North America, and ended it on December 14, 2008, playing to 1.2 million fans throughout the tour and being named the top-selling country female touring artist of 2008.[74]

Underwood performing at the Nokia Theatre at Grand Prairie, Texas, during the Carnival Ride Tour, 2007

At the end of 2007, Underwood won five awards at the Billboard Music Awards, including the coveted Billboard 200 Artist of the Year and also Country Artist of the Year.[75] Also in late 2007, she won three American Music Awards: Artist of the Year, Favorite Female Country Artist and Favorite Country Album, for Some Hearts.[76] At the 2008 Academy of Country Music Awards, she won Female Vocalist of the Year, for the 2nd consecutive time.[77] She received two nominations for the 2008 Country Music Association Awards. Underwood and Brad Paisley co-hosted the awards show and she walked away with the Female Vocalist of the Year award for the third consecutive time, but lost the Album of the Year award to George Strait.[78] At the 2008 American Music Awards, Carnival Ride won the Favorite Country Album award, thus making that her 2nd consecutive win in such category.[79] In 2008, Underwood also won her first international award, which was "Female Vocalist of the Year" at the European Country Music Association Awards.[80] For the 44th Academy of Country Music Awards, in 2009, Underwood was nominated for four major awards. Underwood won for Female Vocalist of the Year and Entertainer of The Year, thus making her the first woman to win the award in ten years and the 7th female to take it in the award show's four decade run.[81] Underwood was nominated for Video of the Year at the 2009 CMT Awards for "Just A Dream". In 2009, at the 51st Grammy Awards, she won, for the third year in a row, the Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, for "Last Name", and performed the song at the ceremony.[82][83] At the 52nd Grammy Awards in 2010, Underwood won her fifth Grammy Award: She won the Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for "I Told You So" with Randy Travis and was also nominated again for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, for "Just A Dream".[84] At the ceremony, she performed with Celine Dion, Usher, Smokey Robinson and Jennifer Hudson during the 3-D Michael Jackson tribute.[85] Grammy Awards producer Ken Ehrlich stated that Michael Jackson greatly admired Underwood, which is why she was hand-picked to perform during his tribute.[86]

On May 13, 2008, Underwood was invited by Randy Travis to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry,[87] later that month she was officially inducted by Garth Brooks into the Grand Ole Opry.[88] A few months earlier, she sang Julie Andrews' classic, the title song from The Sound of Music, at the 2007 Movies Rock: A Celebration Of Music In Film.[89] On October 22, 2008, Underwood unveiled her wax figure at Madame Tussauds New York.[90] In 2008, it was reported by Forbes that Underwood earned over $9 million between June 2007 and June 2008, being number 79 on the Top Celebrity 100 list.[91] In 2009, Forbes reported that Underwood was the top earning American Idol alumni from June 2008 to May 17, 2009. She earned more than twice as much as the second place finisher, with estimated earnings of $14 million during this time period.[92] She appeared on the holiday CD Hear Something Country Christmas 2007 with a rendition of "Do You Hear What I Hear?". The song reached number two on the AC Chart, and remained there for 3 consecutive weeks.[93] She recorded the song "Ever Ever After" for the soundtrack of the 2007 Walt Disney film Enchanted. Underwood co-wrote a song for Idol alum Kristy Lee Cook's major-label debut album Why Wait. At the 2008 Idol Gives Back, she sang George Michael's classic "Praying For Time" and later recorded it.[94] In November 2008, Underwood recorded a virtual and posthumous duet with Elvis Presley, on his classic "I'll Be Home For Christmas", for his 2008 album Christmas Duets. Elvis' ex-wife, Priscilla Presley, herself asked Underwood to do the duet: "Priscilla wanted me to do 'I'll Be Home For Christmas'", she says. "I couldn't say 'no'."[95] In March 2009, she tracked a cover of Mötley Crüe's ballad "Home Sweet Home" for the American Idol season eight farewell theme.[96] Her version debuted at number 21 on the Hot 100 Songs.

2009–12: Play On and collaborations

Underwood at the 2009 American Music Awards

Underwood released her third studio album, Play On, on November 3, 2009.[97] The album debuted atop both the Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums, selling over 318,000 copies in its first week, and became, upon its release, the top-selling release of the year by a female artist, but was later overtaken by Susan Boyle's I Dreamed a Dream and finished the year as the number two.[98][99] Underwood wrote a song with pop/R&B singer-songwriter Ne-Yo for the album, the song however did not make the album.[100] The first single from the album, "Cowboy Casanova", co-written by Underwood, Brett James and hip hop producer Mike Elizondo, was released in September 2009. It was a huge success, jumping from No. 96 to No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in its second week, one of the biggest single-week upwards on the chart of all time.[101] It later peaked at number one on Billboard's Hot Country Songs in just ten weeks, the year's fastest chart-topper by a country female and the fastest No. 1 of her career,[102] and has sold over 2 million copies, being certified 2-time Platinum by the RIAA. Second single, "Temporary Home"[103] hit number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs and the RIAA certified it Gold.[104] "Undo It", Underwood's third single from "Play On", was released to radio in May. It was later certified Platinum by the RIAA and hit number one on the Hot Country Songs chart, giving Underwood her tenth number one single on the Hot Country Songs.[105] The 4th single from Play On, "Mama's Song", was released to country radio in September, peaked at two on the Hot Country Songs and was certified Gold by the RIAA. The album is certified Double Platinum by the RIAA.[106]

Underwood's Play On Tour started its first leg on March 11, 2010 in Reading, Pennsylvania.[107] The second leg of the tour started on September 25, 2010 in Portland, Oregon, and ended January 1, 2011 in Detroit, Michigan.[108] Underwood sold out the prestigious Hollywood Bowl on October 2, 2010.[109] In December 2010, Pollstar.com ranked the Play On Tour one of the Top 50 tours of 2010, at number 18 on the North American raking, and number 31 worldwide. Billboard also ranked Underwood's tour at number 24 for all worldwide tours of 2010. On January 4, 2011, official statistics revealed that Underwood played to over 1 million fans throughout the tour,[110] resulting in her being named again as the top-ranked female country touring artist of the year.[111]

At the 2009 CMA Awards, she received two nominations and co-hosted the ceremony with Brad Paisley.[112] Underwood was nominated for six Academy of Country Music Awards. At the show, Underwood was named Entertainer of the Year, making her the first woman in history to win this award twice.[113] Host Reba McEntire presented Underwood with the "ACM Triple Crown Award" signifying her winning Top New Artist, Top Female Vocalist, and Entertainer of the Year during her career. She was only the second Female to win the coveted "Triple Crown Award", the first being Barbara Mandrell.[114][115] At the CMT Music Awards Underwood walked away with Video of the Year for "Cowboy Casanova" and also won CMT Performance of the Year for "Temporary Home" from CMT: Invitation Only presents Carrie Underwood.[116] Underwood won two international awards at the 8th French Country Music Awards, which were Best Female Vocalist and Video of the Year, for "Cowboy Casanova".[117] At the 2010 American Music Awards, she won "Favorite Country Album", for "Play On", making her the only artist in the American Music Award history to have all albums awarded in such a category.[118] She co-hosted the 2010 CMA Awards with Brad Paisley for the third year in a row. Underwood was the 2010 American Country Awards' top winner with six wins, Artist of the Year, Female Artist of the Year, Album of the Year for (Play On), Female Artist Single of the Year for ("Cowboy Casanova"), Female Artist Video of the Year for ("Cowboy Casanova") and Touring Artist of the Year.[119] At the 2011 Grammy Awards, Underwood was nominated for 'Best Female Country Vocal Performance' for "Temporary Home."[120] Underwood was honored by the CMT Artists of the Year special as one of the 5 top Artists of the year in 2010 in country music.[121] The event aired on CMT on December 3, 2010. At the 2011 Academy of Country Music Awards, Underwood sang with Steven Tyler both her song "Undo It" and Aerosmith's "Walk This Way".[122] In May 2011, Underwood was one of the seven women to be honored by the Academy of Country Music at the Girls' Night Out: Superstar Women of Country special. She was recognized for being the first and only female artist in the Academy's history to ever win Entertainer of the Year twice.[123] At the ceremony, Vince Gill introduced Underwood and presented her with the special award. He sang one of her hits, "Jesus, Take The Wheel", and joined Underwood on a rendition performance of "How Great Thou Art". The video of the performance turned into a viral sensation, reaching 3 million views on YouTube within two days.[124] On December 5, 2011, Underwood won three awards at the 2011 American Country Awards, including Female Artist of the Year for the second consecutive time.[125]

Underwood performing at the United States Naval Academy, in April 2011

In December 2009, Some Hearts was named the No. 1 Country Album of the 2000 Decade by Billboard and Underwood was the top-ranked female artist on Billboard's Best Country Artists of the 2000 Decade list.[126][127] Overall, she was ranked number 50 on the Artists of the Decade list by Billboard.[128] Also in late 2009, Underwood had her very own CMT Invitation Only[129] and also hosted a Christmas special, Carrie Underwood: An All-Star Holiday Special, a two-hour variety show on Fox that featured Dolly Parton (with whom she sang a rendition duet of "I Will Always Love You") season seven American Idol champion David Cook, Kristin Chenoweth, Brad Paisley and others.[130] In May 2010, Underwood was selected on People Magazine's 100 Most Beautiful People List for 2010. This was the 4th year in a row that she was selected for the list.[131] Also in May, Victoria's Secret named her legs the Sexiest Legs in Hollywood.[132] In June 2011, Rolling Stone magazine ranked Underwood as the number eleven Queen of Pop, based on a lot of criteria from 2009 until 2011.[133] Underwood co-wrote and recorded a song titled "There's a Place for Us," the lead single from The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.[134] Underwood and songwriters, David Hodges and Hillary Lindsey, received a nomination for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.[135] In March 2011, Underwood sang John Lennon's "Instant Karma!" at the NBC's special All Together Now – A Celebration of Service, which honored former President George H. W. Bush.[136] At the season ten finale of American Idol Underwood selected a song for contestant Lauren Alaina to sing.[137]

Underwood is featured on "Remind Me", a duet with Brad Paisley that reached number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs, giving Underwood her eleventh number one single on such chart and fourteenth overall. She has also a duet with Tony Bennett on his 2011 album Duets II[138] and another duet with Randy Travis on his 2011 Anniversary Celebration album. Underwood was one of the headliners of the iHeartRadio Music Festival. The event took place on September 23 and 24, 2011.[139] On September 19, Underwood performed "You Really Got a Hold on Me" in order to honor Smokey Robinson, as he was presented with the Ella Award at the Society of Singers annual dinner. Robinson returned the favor to Underwood by singing "My Girl" to her. At the same event, they sang together with Stevie Wonder, Natalie Cole and other artists a medley of multiple songs.[140] In 2010, Underwood was reported by Forbes to have earned over $13 million from May 2009 to May 2010, being the top-earning Idol.[141] In July 2011, Forbes reported that Underwood earned over $20 million between May 2010 and May 2011, being the top-earning American Idol alumnus for the fourth consecutive year.[142]

On February 4, 2012, Underwood joined Steven Tyler to record CMT's Crossroads at the Pepsi Coliseum during the Pepsi Super Bowl Fan Jam of Super Bowl XLVI.[143] It was the highest-rated episode in seven years.[144] On February 12, 2012, Underwood and Tony Bennett performed their duet "It Had to Be You" at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards.[145] They also sang the song on the season two premiere of Blue Bloods in September 2011.[146]

2012–13: Blown Away and global tour

Underwood performing at the 2013 CMA Music Festival

Blown Away,[147] Underwood's fourth album, was released on May 1, 2012.[148] Underwood has said that this album features songs with a "darker storyline."[149] Blown Away debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, the Country Albums Chart and the Digital Albums chart in the United States, selling more than 267,000 in its first week.[150] The first single, "Good Girl", was released to the iTunes Store on February 23, 2012. It was officially released to Country radio on February 27, 2012.[151][152] The music video for "Good Girl" premiered on Entertainment Tonight and on VEVO on March 12, 2012.[153] The song peaked at number one on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, giving Underwood her twelfth number one on the chart,[154] and was certified Double Platinum by the RIAA and has sold over two million copies.[155] The song "Blown Away" was released as the second single from the album on July 9, 2012. It was a massive success, selling over 2 million copies, being certified Double Platinum, reaching the Top 20 of the Billboard Hot 100, the number one spot on the Billboard Country Airplay and the Top 2 of the Top Country Songs, where it became Underwood's 16th Top 10 hit on Billboard's Hot Country Songs, a record among women in the tally’s 68-year history.[156] The album has been certified Platinum by the RIAA and was the 7th best-selling album of 2012, the second best-selling country album of the year and the second best-selling release by a female artist in 2012.[157] The album has sold over 1.6 million copies in the United States alone.[158] On August 2012, it was announced that Underwood would have her very own VH1 Unplugged (called "VH1 Presents: Carrie Underwood Unplugged") and VH1 Behind The Music episodes.[159] "Two Black Cadillacs", the third single from the album, was released on November 26. It became Underwood's 17th top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Songs, extending her own record, later peaking at number two on Billboard's Country Airplay chart and certified Platinum by the RIAA.[106][160] In March 2013, "See You Again" was announced as the album's fourth single; it has been certified Gold by the RIAA.[161][162]

At the 2012 CMT Music Awards, Underwood won the awards for Video of the Year, for "Good Girl", and Collaborative Video of the Year, for "Remind Me", her duet with Brad Paisley. She also performed "Good Girl" at the ceremony.[163] At the 2012 American Music Awards, she won the award for Favorite Album – Country, for Blown Away, and performed "Two Black Cadillacs". On December 10, Underwood won 2 American Country Awards, for Female Artist of the Year and Single of the Year for Remind Me. She has won a total of 11 ACA's, the most of any artist ever.[164] In early 2013, Underwood won the prize for Top Selling International Album of the Year at the 41st Country Music Awards of Australia, held by the Country Music Association of Australia.[165][166] Also in February 2013, Underwood won her sixth Grammy Award, for Best Country Solo Performance, for "Blown Away".[167] She also performed a medley of "Blown Away" and "Two Black Cadillacs" at the awards show. On February 13, Underwood received two nominations for the Academy of Country Music Awards.[168] She won International Album of the Year at the 2013 British Country Music Awards.[169] At the 2013 CMT Music Awards, Underwood won her 10th award, becoming the most awarded artist ever in CMT Music Awards history. She won Video of the Year for "Blown Away" for the fourth time, which also makes her the artist with the most wins ever in the category.[170][171][172] During the ceremony, she paid tribute to tornado victims in Oklahoma, by performing "See You Again" backed by a choir from Nashville's Christ Church.[173]

Underwood performing in Canada, during the Blown Away World Tour, 2012

On May 1, 2012, Underwood announced her international arena tour, the Blown Away Tour. The first leg consisted, besides the North American dates, of concerts in the UK, at the Royal Albert Hall in London, on June 21, 2012,[174] which sold-out in 90 minutes,[175] and five shows in Australia, including a sold-out date at the Sydney Opera House, on July 2.[155] The first leg of the Blown Away Tour made Underwood the best-selling female country touring artist of 2012, grossing over $29.2 million and bringing her career tour revenues to over $95 million.[176][177] The tour had its own exhibition at the Country Music Hall of Fame, called "Carrie Underwood: The Blown Away Tour Exhibition", which ran from June 5 through November 10, 2013.[178] The second leg of the tour started in February 2013, with shows in Ireland, an additional show in England, as part of the C2C: Country to Country festival,[179] and several shows in North America. All dates of the second leg of the Blown Away Tour were sold out, breaking records.[180] Underwood wrapped the Blown Away Tour in late May 2013, playing to one million fans across three continents and six countries. Her three headline arena tours have played to over 3.2 million fans combined.[181] On May 31, it was announced on Underwood's official site that she would release The Blown Away Tour: LIVE, a DVD with nearly 100 minutes of performance footage, behind-the-scene looks, interviews and music videos from the album Blown Away. The DVD was released on August 13, 2013 and is Underwood's first official DVD concert.[182]

On February 22, 2013, Billboard ranked Underwood as the 16th money maker for the period from February 2012 to February 2013. She earned close to $12 million, being American Idol's Top Earner and second for female country artists.[183] In June 2013, Forbes placed Underwood at number 46 on The Celebrity 100 list, reporting that she earned more than $31 million between June 2012 and June 2013, being, once again, the top-earning American Idol.[184][185] As of early 2013, has sold more than 13 million album copies and over 27 million digital tracks in the United States.[186] Worldwide, she has sold over 30 million singles and nearly 16 million albums.[187][188]

On January 21, 2013, "Can't Stop Lovin' You", a song by rock band Aerosmith with featured vocals by Underwood, was released as a single.[189][190] On May 25, Underwood joined The Rolling Stones on stage during the stop of the band's 50 and Counting Tour in Toronto, Canada. They performed "It's Only Rock 'n Roll (But I Like It)".[191][192] On September 22, 2013, at the 65th Primetime Emmy Awards, she was part of the Emmy Awards' special tribute honoring the 50th Anniversary of 1963 Television Milestones, which includes the assassination coverage of President John F. Kennedy and The Beatles’ first U.S. appearance. She performed one of The Beatles' iconic songs, "Yesterday".[193][194]

2014: Upcoming fifth studio album and tour

Underwood confirmed that she began planning a new album in August 2013 and would start prep work sometime in 2014.[195] Underwood told Billboard, "After The Sound of Music, I feel like I can really buckle down and start working on the next album." Underwood also stated she has been planning another tour, which might be toned down from her earlier ones, stating, “I haven’t thought about it much because I don’t know what the next album is going to sound like, but I like just standing there and singing, too. I may take a different approach, a more simple approach on the next one. I loved the energy that rock concerts had,” Underwood told Billboard.[196] Underwood is featured on Miranda Lambert's album Platinum, on a song called "Somethin' Bad".[197] Released as a single, "Somethin' Bad" peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs, becoming Underwood's 13th number one on the chart. The same week, the song vaulted to No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100.[198] With 13 number ones, she remains and expands her record as the female country artist with the most number one hits on the Hot Country Songs chart in the Nielsen SoundScan era (1991–present), breaking her own Guinness Book record of ten.[199]

In 2014, the Academy of Country Music awarded Underwood the Gene Weed Special Achievement Award, for her widespread exposure through NFL Sunday Night Football, the live NBC broadcast of The Sound of Music, her worldwide Blown Away Tour and her charity work with the American Red Cross and her C.A.T.S. Foundation.[200] At the 2014 Billboard Music Awards, Underwood won the Milestone Award, for which she had been nominated due to her chart success, specially her record of having the best starting run ever by a woman on Billboard's Country Airplay (18 top ten hits on the chart).[201][202][203] Time listed Underwood as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2014, placing her in the "Icons" category.[204]

Artistry

Voice

Underwood delivering a strong vocal performance

Underwood displaying a softer timbre to her vocal, demonstrating a more heartfelt and compelling side of her voice

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Underwood has been highly acclaimed for her vocal talents. David Wild of Rolling Stone has praised her voice, saying that "she can hit any note".[205] Her vocal range has been described as "enormous", with critics highlighting her ability to hold notes for an extended period of time. Billboard describes her vocal ability as "freakish".[206] Concert critics have pointed out that "she’ll let loose with an improbably long note that runs through more octaves than you knew existed".[207] When asked if it ever becomes difficult to belt at such high intensity during her 90–120 minute live shows, Underwood responded, "I'm too proud to drop keys. I won't do it. Maybe the older I get, I'll write some songs in lower keys so it'll be easier. I've always been pretty good as far as stamina onstage. Being able to work out and stay physically strong is important... So far, it's worked for me. I'm just blessed at being able to be loud for long periods of time."[208] Fellow country music singer Randy Travis paid high praises to Underwood's voice when asked about her cover of his 1988 hit song "I Told You So", saying that "her voice is so much better suited to the song. I have a baritone voice, and her soprano voice really fits well with the range of the song. Her ability to get into the upper register of her voice and just hold those high notes is great."[209] Her voice has also been praised as "versatile".[210] She has indeed performed live versions of gospel songs like "How Great Thou Art", in which Yahoo! critics noticed her ability to move an audience with a "powerful performance",[124] and Rock songs like Guns N' Roses' "Paradise City", with Rolling Stone critics saying it was a "standout performance", adding that "when the song reached its crescendo, the singer went right over the edge with it, twirling like a tornado and tossing in more than a few banshee wails" and even saying "if the original members of Guns N' Roses ever wanted to reunite without Axl Rose, they might be wise to ask Carrie Underwood to fill his bandanna".[211]

Influences

Underwood has credited "music as a whole" as her major influence, since she "grew up listening to music" and "there were songs, different kind of songs coming at me from everywhere".[212] But she has occasionally mentioned Rock acts like Queen, George Michael, The Rolling Stones and My Chemical Romance as influences.[213] Among Country artists, she has enlisted George Strait,[214] Dolly Parton,[215] Randy Travis,[216] Martina McBride, Reba McEntire and Garth Brooks as influences.[217] Although never publicly mentioning Faith Hill and Shania Twain as musical influences, critics have linked Underwood's musical style to those of Hill and Twain.[218]

Recognition and legacy

Underwood performing during the Blown Away World Tour, 2012

Since her debut in 2005, Underwood has been highly praised by both veteran artists and music executives and producers. Grammy Awards executive producer Ken Ehrlich stated that Michael Jackson greatly admired Underwood, which is why she was hand-picked to perform during his tribute at the 2010 Grammy Awards.[219] Stevie Nicks stated, during an interview with HBO, that she was "thrilled" with Underwood's tribute to Linda Ronstadt at the 2014 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremory, saying that "she did it so magnificently" and that Underwood "is just so good". Nicks also told Underwood: "It's a good thing you weren't around when we joined Fleetwood Mac because I think you would have won the lottery on that one, and I would have been back to being a waitress."[220] Steven Tyler of Aerosmith considers her a friend and has praised Underwood, saying: "I love her stuff. I met her and it was all over after that, once I looked into her eyes. She opened her mouth and sang and she is that good. I loved singing with her". Tyler has also told her: "You were why I took judging for 'Idol', you are exactly why. Not only could you sing good, but you adapted to this...it's a pit! It's a deep, dark, ominous pit. And you get out there on-stage at night with that band, that great band you've got and you make people feel happy, first and foremost".[221][222][223] Dolly Parton has stated that "Underwood is one of her favorites", that she "admires Underwood so much", that "she is spectacular of course — she’s a sweet beautiful girl and can sing like nobody’s business" and has also said of Underwood: “She’s the real thing. Another country gal like me who sings from the heart. I loved working with her and I love listening to her.”[215][224][225] Tony Bennett has praised her too, speaking on their duet: "she's beautiful and she sings great and she's so popular. It's just a wonderful experience".[226] Loretta Lynn, who personally sent Underwood a letter asking her to be involved with her 2010 tribute album, has said: "Carrie's right on the beat. She's done it. She's great, she's a great singer".[227] Vince Gill has also stated: "The possibility of Carrie's longevity is through the roof. There are fine singers, and there are gifted, great singers, and she's one of those. Her vocal skills are off the hook".[228] Maya Angelou, renowned American poet and author, was reported by Time to be a "country music lover who listened to Carrie Underwood".[229] Melissa Etheridge has praised her as well, saying "she has a power in her country music, in her singing. She can crossover to Rock in a second".[205] Simon Cowell has praised her on several occasions, most famously predicting she would not only win American Idol but sell more records than any other winner. He has said of her: "with Carrie Underwood, from the first day she came into the audition. It was honestly like everybody else was in black in white and this girl was in full color. She was the absolute total package. She looked the part, she sounded the part".[230][231][232] Tamara Conniff, former editor in chief of Billboard, has also praised her, stating "Carrie Underwood is America's sweetheart, she just had that sparkle, and that voice. She really personified the 'girl nextdoor'".[205] David Wild of Rolling Stone has said: "Carrie Underwood is the greatest thing that American Idol ever gave us".[205]

She has also received praise from contemporaries. Brad Paisley has said of Underwood: "Carrie is the best singer in any format of music. I'm floored by her". Paisley has also stated that "not only has she earned her place, she’s also raised the bar: she’s a prolific songwriter, a trendsetter".[204][228] Miranda Lambert has also praised Underwood, saying: "singing with Carrie Underwood is very, very intimidating, I’ll be honest. She is an amazing vocalist. I’m a big fan of hers".[197]

Underwood had a fast impact on the music industry, with her debut album, Some Hearts, becoming the fastest-selling debut country album in the history of the SoundScan era,[32][33] the best-selling solo female debut album in country music history,[34] the best-selling Country album of the last 10 years,[35] and the best-selling album by an American Idol alumni in the U.S.[36] With her debut single, "Inside Your Heaven", she also broke Billboard chart history as the first country music artist ever to debut at No. 1 on the Hot 100 and the song became the first song from a country artist to go to No. 1 on the Hot 100 since country group Lonestar's "Amazed" did so in 2000.[23] "Inside Your Heaven" is the only single by a solo country artist in the 2000 decade to reach number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.[24] With the singles from her second album, Carnival Ride, she became the first female country artist since Shania Twain in 1995 to pull four No. 1s from one album.[72] She quickly became the female country artist with the most number one hits on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart in the Nielsen SoundScan era (1991–present), having 13 No. 1s and breaking her own Guinness Book record of ten, which was co-held with Reba McEntire.[154][199] Underwood has been described by music critics, such as Billboard's, as Country Music's reigning Queen.[233] The Recording Industry Association of America recognizes Underwood as the 10th Top Artist (Digital Singles) of all time, being the highest-ranked American Idol alumni on the list, with 22.5 million certified units.[234] Since May 2011, Underwood is the Biggest American Idol Earner, with, at the time of the press release, over $66 million in tour revenues, besides her records sales.[235] She is also the fourth biggest album seller of the past 10 years.[236] The Voice winner Danielle Bradbery cites Underwood as her "huge influence" and inspiration.[237] American Idol runner-up Lauren Alaina says "Carrie Underwood has been a huge influence on who I am".[238] Underwood has also influenced singer and actress Lucy Hale.[239]

Other ventures

Product endorsements

Underwood has had many endorsements throughout her career. She has signed multimillion dollar deals with Sketchers, Target, Nintendo, Olay and Nicole by OPI. In 2005, Underwood appeared in Sketchers global advertising campaign. In 2008, Underwood worked with Nintendo for the launch of their Nintendo DS appearing in various television commercials.[240] In 2007, Underwood appeared in Target advertisements promoting her album Carnival Ride. The limited edition of the album which included a behind the scenes DVD was exclusively sold at Target.[241] In 2008, Underwood became the spokesperson for Vitamin Water appearing in television and magazine advertisements. Underwood also hosts a guide to a healthy lifestyle on Vitamin Water's website.[242] In 2010, Underwood became the spokesperson for the Pedigree adoption drive. In 2011, she became the first celebrity brand ambassador for Olay skin care. Underwood has appeared in the global advertising campaign for their facial wash.[243]

In January 2014, Underwood signed a deal with Nicole by OPI to launch 14 new nail lacquers. The collection features a colorful mosaic of hues in a variety of finishes, including pink, red and coral crèmes; chunky and textured glitters in gold, silver and white; and rich eggplant and khaki green shades. "Carrie is the perfect partner for Nicole by OPI. Her music evokes powerful emotions in its listeners, and we wanted to give fans a way to express their feelings through color," explained Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, Nicole by OPI Executive VP & Artistic Director. "In working closely with Carrie, we came up with 14 nail lacquers that truly encapsulate her soulful spirit and showcase different facets of her personality – from softer pastels and dark sultry shades to playful glitters."[244] That same month, Almay announced Underwood had signed a deal to serve as Almay's global brand ambassador. She appeared in TV and print advertisements later that month.[245]

Underwood has mentioned plans of designing a line of clothing and accessories. Fashion designer Tommy Hilfiger endorsed the idea, saying that Underwood is one the best in music when it comes to creating images through fashion.[246]

Philanthropy

Underwood established the Checotah Animal, Town, and School Foundation in 2009. The foundation helps with general causes, needs and services in the area of Checotah to directly impact the community.[247] "My hometown is extremely supportive of me and I feel blessed to be able to create something as a way of giving back; to say thank you," said Underwood.[248][249]

Underwood is a supporter of arts education. In 2009, Underwood’s foundation "Checotah Animal, Town & School Foundation" and the Academy of Country Music foundation "ACM Lifting Lives" partnered to give students in Checotah, Oklahoma a gift valued at more than $120,000 in new instruments for their music programs.[250] Underwood held a surprise concert at a local high school and then unveiled the gifts. The instruments will be shared throughout the Checotah school district, and were ordered through Yamaha Corporate Artist Affairs at a special philanthropic price.[250][250] During the 2011 holiday season, her foundation donated $350,000 to the Checotah schools.[251]

Underwood is a supporter of animal rights. Underwood is a supporter of the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and has done several public service announcements for the organization.[252] Underwood has also done a "Protect Your Pets" public service announcement for Do Something.[253] In 2010, Underwood became the official spokesperson for the Pedigree adoption drive.[254] On March 29, 2010 Underwood and Pedigree partnered to donate $10,000 to a New York City Animal Shelter. In April 2011, Underwood opened the Happy Paws Animal Shelter in her hometown.[255] On January 10, 2012, it was reported, but had previously been blogged by Underwood herself on her official fan-site, that the singer rescued an abandoned dog along highway.[256]

Underwood and her husband made a video for the "Do It for Daron" campaign urging young people to stop bullying.[257] In July 2012, she publicly endorsed same-sex marriage. She told the British newspaper The Independent, "As a married person myself, I don't know what it's like to be told I can't marry somebody I love, and want to marry," she said. "I can't imagine how that must feel. I definitely think we should all have the right to love, and love publicly, the people that we want to love." Underwood went on to say, "Our church is gay friendly. Above all, God wanted us to love others. It's not about setting rules, or [saying] 'everyone has to be like me'. No. We're all different. That's what makes us special. We have to love each other and get on with each other. It's not up to me to judge anybody."[258]

Underwood launched the Academy of Country Music Lifting Lives Temporary Home Fund in 2010. The Fund specifically benefits victims of the Tennessee floods of early 2010 and it was kicked off with grants that Underwood received from ACM as Entertainer of the Year. She also teamed up with Brooks and Dunn to support the new Fund by recording a Public Service Announcement (PSA).[259]

Underwood is involved with a number of organizations that benefit children. In January 2010, she partnered with Country Cares for St. Jude Kids visiting the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.[260] In February 2011, Underwood donated $140,125 to Save the Children.[261] This charitable initiative was inspired by the "36 cents" written in the lyrics of Underwood's album track "Change" on her album Play On, which addresses how even the smallest bit of spare change that one might have can add up to make a difference and help "change" the world.[262]

Underwood is a supporter of the United Service Organization, Clothes off our back, and Habitat For Humanity.[263] To benefit cancer research, in August 2008 Underwood joined Beyoncé, Mariah Carey, Mary J. Blige, Miley Cyrus and other female artists to record the song "Just Stand Up!". The proceeds benefited Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C). As a result of their fund raising efforts, the SU2C scientific advisory committee, overseen by the American Association for Cancer Research was able to award $73.6 million towards novel, groundbreaking research.[264] The song peaked at number eleven on Billboard's Hot 100 Songs.

In May 2012, Underwood announced that she would donate $1 of every ticket sold on Blown Away Tour to the American Red Cross.[265] On May 24, 2013, Underwood announced that she would be donating $1 million in proceeds from her recent Blown Away Tour to the Red Cross for relief efforts in response to the Oklahoma tornado. "I have watched the devastation in my home state of Oklahoma over the past several days with great sadness," Underwood said in a statement. "With the help of my fans who attended my concerts over the past year, we can offer the Red Cross a little extra help in comforting those affected by the recent tornados." Neal Litvack, chief development officer for the Red Cross, said, "The impact of the tornados in Oklahoma and the Midwest was devastating and the road to recovery will be long for many families. Through the generosity of Carrie, the American Red Cross can quickly respond with shelter, food and comfort now, and with lasting help as they move toward recovery."

Acting

Underwood appeared on How I Met Your Mother in March 2010. She played the part of Tiffany, a medical sales rep that forms a relationship with Ted.[266] This was the second highest rated episode for season five, gaining 10.48 million viewers. Brian Zoromski of IGN gave the episode 8.5 out of 10. He was surprised how well Underwood performed in her first acting role.[267] A few months earlier, she appeared in an episode of the PBS children's television series Sesame Street, performing a voice-over as "Carrie Underworm", a parodied "worm" character.[268] Underwood made her film debut in Soul Surfer in April 2011. She played Sarah Hill, the church youth leader who helped Bethany Hamilton overcome the obstacles she faced after the shark attack.[269][270]

It was announced by NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt on November 30, 2012 that Underwood would star in the coveted role of Maria von Trapp in NBC’s live broadcast of The Sound of Music, based on the original Broadway musical.[271] The three-hour telecast aired on December 5, 2013.[272] NBC is partnered with the producing team of Craig Zadan and Neil Meron. "To have a star like Carrie Underwood perform Maria in ‘The Sound of Music’ – and in such a very special and unique production, is exciting beyond words,” said Ted Chapin, President, Rodgers & Hammerstein. “Part of the magic of Rodgers and Hammerstein is how their work has adapted itself to so many different incarnations, and I am certain the fresh spirit Underwood brings to her own songs will transition into exciting versions of the classic songs we all know and love.”[273]

Personal life

Underwood is a practicing Christian.[274][275] She and her mother are fans of writer Stephen King. His 1980s best-selling book-turned-to-movie Christine inspired the video for her single "Two Black Cadillacs".[276] Underwood is a fan of musical drama show Nashville[277] and horror-themed TV shows The Following[278] and The Walking Dead, having stated, in an interview with Marie Claire, that she would like to play a zombie on The Walking Dead.[279]

Relationships

Underwood began dating then Ottawa Senators (now Nashville Predators) hockey player Mike Fisher after they met at one of her concerts in late 2008 and she became engaged to him in December 2009.[280] Underwood and Fisher appeared together publicly for the first time in January 2010, at the Bell Sens Soiree, an annual fundraiser in Gatineau for the Ottawa Senators' official charity.[281] After appearing together at the CMT Awards in June 2010, Underwood told reporters that Fisher was planning a surprise honeymoon for the two of them after their summer wedding.[282]

On July 10, 2010, Underwood and Fisher wed at The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation in Greensboro, Georgia, with more than 250 people in attendance. The couple gave People the following statement, which they signed "Mike & Carrie Fisher": "We could not feel more blessed to have found each other and to have shared this day with our friends and family that mean so much to us!" According to People, Monique Lhuillier created a dress of Chantilly lace for Underwood and also designed the bridesmaids' dresses. The ceremony featured classical music and readings of the couple's favorite Bible verses.[283][284] National Hockey League players, as well as Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Garth Brooks, American Idol contestants, and judges Paula Abdul, Simon Cowell and Randy Jackson were in attendance.[285][286] She surprised her husband by having one of their favorite artists, Brandon Heath, sing his song "Love Never Fails" for their first dance.[287]

On February 11, 2011, an Ottawa radio station, 105.3 CISS-FM, banned the playing of Underwood's music because her husband, Mike Fisher, was traded to the Nashville Predators the day before. Due to Underwood's fans' threats on Facebook to never tune into the radio station, the station later modified their statement. They apologized for their actions, saying that their statements were meant to be taken as a joke, as they do not play Underwood's country songs anyway and it was their tongue-in-cheek way of wishing Fisher the best of luck in Nashville.[288][289] Fisher later criticized the station saying "obviously Carrie had nothing to do with the move or the trade or anything so to imply something like that was just wrong", and noting that both he and Underwood were disappointed in the negativity that was created by the radio station.[290][291] Underwood was selected by The Hockey News on its annual list of the 100 People of Power and Influence in Ice Hockey. For the 2012 list, Underwood ranked at number 85.[292]

Wealth

According to Forbes, Underwood earned $7 million between 2006 and 2007,[64] $9 million between 2007 and 2008,[91] $14 million between 2008 and 2009,[92] $13 million between 2009 and 2010,[141] $20 million between 2010 and 2011,[142] $5 million between 2011 and 2012 [293] and $31 million between 2012 and 2013[185][294] Underwood's total net worth is over $100 million.[citation needed]

In 2010, Underwood and Fisher bought a mansion on 11 acres near Ottawa, Canada in the luxurious Spruce Ridge. Underwood later put the mansion up for sale at an asking price of $2.2 million.[295] In 2012, Underwood bought a cottage outside of Tennessee. Underwood uses this cottage for weekend get aways. Oprah toured and interviewed Underwood and Fisher at the cottage for their appearance on Oprah's Next Chapter.[296]

In January 2014 it was reported that Underwood topped the 2013 list of the highest-paid American Idol alumni, reportedly earning $31 million. This was not only more than any American Idol contestant, but it exceeded the annual earnings of 2013 judges Mariah Carey, Nicki Minaj, and Keith Urban.[297]

Personal interests

Underwood is an animal lover and a vegan.[298] She stopped eating meat at the age of thirteen because she could not stand the thought of eating one of her own animals. She was voted "World's Sexiest Vegetarian" by PETA[299] in 2007 for the second time, the first being in 2005 alongside Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, who is also a vegan.[299] In a 2007 interview with PETA, Underwood stated, "Ever since I was little I loved animals [...] If you told me I could never sing again, I'd say that was horrible, but it's not my life. If you told me I could never be around animals again, I would just die."[300]

In April 2013, Underwood, an animal lover, spoke out with disapproval regarding the Tennessee "Ag Gag bill".[301] The bill makes it a crime to videotape animal cruelty or abuse and then fail to turn in the evidence to authorities within 48 hours. This is to stop animal rights activists from accumulating enough documentation to prove that animal cruelty is routine in big agribusiness.[302] Underwood tweeted, "Shame on TN lawmakers for passing the Ag Gag bill. If Gov. Bill Haslam signs this, he needs to expect me at his front door. Who's with me?"[303] State Rep. Andy Holt responded to her tweet, saying, "I would say that Carrie Underwood will stick to singing, I'll stick to lawmaking."[304] Underwood later responded via Twitter, "I should stick to singing? Wow…sorry, I’m just a tax paying citizen concerned for the safety of my family. #NoAgGag".[305] She also tweeted Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, saying "Please don't sign the Ag Gag bill. Think about the welfare of the animals as well as the consumers. I'm begging you..."[306]

Underwood has stated that she has a great interest in sports. She has participated in the annual City of Hope Celebrity Softball tournament for charity for many years. The event takes place in Nashville, Tennessee, and benefits research for life-threatening diseases.[307] In 2005, she performed the "Star-Spangled Banner" at Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons,[308] and in 2006 at the NBA All-Star Game.[309] She performed at halftime of the 2006 Thanksgiving Day football game at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas, and was friends with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo.[310] She also performed the "Star-Spangled Banner" at the NFC Championship Game between the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers in 2006,[311] as well as at the 2006 edition of NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600,[312] the MLB All Star Game in Pittsburgh, P.A., and at Game 3 of the 2007 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and Colorado Rockies.[313] On February 7, 2010, Underwood performed the National Anthem for Super Bowl XLIV.[314] On May 7, 2013, it was announced that Underwood will perform the opening theme song for NBC Sunday Night Football, replacing Faith Hill.[315] Hill later expressed full support for Underwood, congratulating her via Twitter and stating that it was "an awesome choice" by NBC/SNF and that Underwood "will rock it".[316]

Tours

Discography

Filmography

Film and television
Year Title Role Notes
2005 American Idol Contestant Winner in season 4
2007 Saturday Night Live Musical guest
2008–present Country Music Association Awards Herself/Co-host[317]
2009 Carrie Underwood: An All-Star Holiday Special Herself
2010 How I Met Your Mother Tiffany Episode: "Hooked"
2010 Sesame Street Carrie Underworm
2010 The Buried Life Herself
2010 Extreme Makeover: Home Edition Herself
2011 Blue Bloods Herself
2011 Soul Surfer Sarah Hill Film debut
2012 CMT Crossroads (with Steven Tyler)[143] Herself
2013 The Sound of Music Live! Maria Rainir/von Trapp NBC original production

Awards

Underwood has been the recipient of six Grammy Awards, sixteen Billboard Music Awards, eleven Academy of Country Music Awards, seven American Music Awards, five Country Music Association Awards, amongst many others. As a songwriter, she has also received a Golden Globe Award nomination and won seven BMI Awards. Underwood was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2008, for her many accomplishments in country music, and into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame in 2009.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Monitor". Entertainment Weekly (1250). Mar 15, 2013. p. 23. 
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Bibliography

  • Tracey, Kathleen. Carrie Underwood: American Idol IV. September 2005. Blue Banner Biography series (Juvenile) ISBN 1-58415-425-X

External links

Preceded by
Fantasia Barrino
American Idol winner
2005
Succeeded by
Taylor Hicks
Awards
Preceded by
Emmylou Harris
Grammy Award for Best Female Country Vocal Performance
2007–2009; 2013
Succeeded by
Incumbent
Preceded by
Dierks Bentley
Country Music Association Award for Horizon Award
2006
Succeeded by
Taylor Swift
Preceded by
Gretchen Wilson
Country Music Association Award for Female Vocalist of the Year
2006–2008
Succeeded by
Taylor Swift
Preceded by
Sara Evans
Academy of Country Music Award for Female Vocalist of the Year
2007–2009
Succeeded by
Miranda Lambert
Preceded by
Kenny Chesney
Academy of Country Music Award for Entertainer of the Year
2009–2010
Succeeded by
Taylor Swift