Carrie, you're not just the girl to beat, you're the person to beat. I'm going to make a prediction that not only will you win this show, you will sell more records than any other previous Idol winner.
— Simon Cowell
Did Simon call it or what?
Carrie Marie Underwood (1983-) is an American country singer and songwriter. At 22, Carrie, a country farm girl from Checotah, Oklahoma, auditioned for the fourth American Idol
with "I Can't Make You Love Me". Although the judges were impressed, it wasn't until Underwood sang Heart's "Alone" that her true potential appeared. She won the final over Bo Bice and immediately proved Simon right: Like Kelly Clarkson
before her, Underwood became a star in her own right (yet unlike Clarkson has completely escaped association with the Idol brand) and took the Country Music
world by storm. She has since won multiple Grammys and set a yet-to-be-surpassed benchmark for Idol
success. So far, none of her singles have peaked at lower than second, by itself an impressive streak, but the strong sales of her four albums and omnipresence in two genres are next-to-impossible to ignore.
She also played the role of Maria in NBC
's production The Sound of Music Live
, to, shall we say, more mixed reviews