Carrie Underwood might seem to have a charmed life, given her dozens of awards (including two recent Grammy nominations), millions of albums sold, a fine romance with hockey player Mike Fisher, and sold-out tours under her belt. But while she's perfectly content with life the way it is, the singer admits her world isn't at all what other people perceive it to be.

"When people think of what it's like to be famous, they think of the Ritz," she tells Esquire magazine. "But I've been in hotels where I will not take my shoes off. I will wear flip-flops in the shower. I've seen more basements of venues than I've seen of the United States. People think, 'Oh, you travel around, you get to see the country.' I've seen basements. I've seen concrete. I've seen pillars."

And although she may be surrounded by an entourage everywhere she goes, the singer acknowledges there's still plenty of time to be lonely. "As you step off that stage, you're pretty much alone. My cell phone is my best friend. It's my lifeline to the outside world."

The most successful 'American Idol' winner to date, Carrie reveals she considered backing out before she ever made it to Hollywood. "I was so nervous when I was on my way to L.A. I'd never been on a plane, and I was going alone. I kind of got teary-eyed. My dad was driving, and he said, 'If you want to go home, we can go home, and you never have to think about this again.' And I thought, 'If I don't go, I'm choosing for this not to happen. It will be my choice. So I figured it would be easier for me to get kicked off 'American Idol' than to have it be my own decision."

And even after subjecting herself to Simon' Cowell's criticism week after week, the superstar harbors no hard feelings for some of the 'Idol' judge's harsh words. "Simon's obviously very smart," she says, adding, "but he's not the smartest person I know."

Carrie also dishes on her recent No.1 hit, 'Cowboy Casanova,' which she co-wrote, knowing that many people wondered out loud if the song was about her former boyfriend, Dallas Cowboys' quarterback Tony Romo. "No," she asserts. "I would never immortalize a guy that did me wrong. I would never give him that much credit."

Coming off her own TV variety special earlier this week, Carrie can next be seen as part of Faith Hill's Christmas special, 'Home for the Holidays with Faith Hill,' where she will be performing alongside Mary J. Blige, Reba McEntire, Shakira and several other of music's biggest names. Carrie's new single, 'Temporary Home,' hits radio stations next week.