18 Years Ago: Carrie Underwood Auditions for ‘American Idol’
Carrie Underwood is one of the biggest stars in contemporary country music, but it wasn't that many years ago that she was just another young singer looking for a break.
Underwood was almost entirely unknown when she auditioned for American Idol on Aug. 8, 2004, in St. Louis, Mo. The clip above shows the young singer nervously pacing and wringing her hands in the hallway outside of the audition room, while her mom, Carole, proudly told the cameraman, "I just think she's beautiful, and I think she's got the voice, so I hope she's going on. But, I don't know. I have faith in her."
The 21-year-old aspiring star admitted to judge Randy Jackson that she was "a little bit" nervous, "because he's scary," she said with a cute laugh, indicating the sometimes-intimidating Simon Cowell, who was clearly bemused by her thoughts. She completely charmed the judges before she'd sung a note, talking about being the captain and quarterback of the football team and even — with some understandable reluctance — revealing on-air the fact that she was born with a third nipple, which she had removed.
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Underwood auditioned by singing the Bonnie Raitt classic "I Can't Make You Love Me," and it was obvious from the first note that she would make it through to the show, with both Cowell and Jackson complimenting her on her performance. But she wasn't done just yet — Underwood also demonstrated an uncanny ability to cluck like a chicken so convincingly that the normally unflappable Cowell said, "God, that was good."
Underwood didn't only make it to the live show, she dominated the fourth season of American Idol and was ultimately crowned the winner on May 25, 2005. Her 2005 debut album, Some Hearts, was a massive hit, and she has gone on to more than a decade of runaway success that includes numerous Grammy Awards, Academy of Country Music Awards, Country Music Association Awards and more, along with a Golden Globe Awards nomination for Best Original Song. She is the best-selling ex-American Idol contestant in terms of U.S. sales, and has scored more than a dozen No. 1 hits.
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