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Carrie Underwood

Singer / Talent Show Contestant

Born: 10 March 1983
Birthplace: Checotah, Oklahoma
Best known as:

The American Idol winner who became a country music star

Singer Carrie Underwood won the TV talent show American Idol in 2005. A senior in college when she entered the contest, Underwood performed mostly country songs, a departure from previous years' winners Kelly Clarkson (2002) and Ruben Studdard (2003) and Fantasia Barrino (2004). Underwood grew up singing at events and at church, in and around her hometown of Checotah, Oklahoma. She was one of 100,000 potential contestants when the 2005 season began, and she ended up in a tight race against Bo Bice, a southern rocker from Alabama. Judge Simon Cowell predicted Underwood's ultimate victory two months in advance, but in the final weeks Bice emerged as a favorite. In the final show of the season, on 25 May 2005, Underwood narrowly beat out Bice to become the new "American Idol," guaranteeing her a recording contract. Her debut album, Some Hearts, was released in November of 2005 and became a country-pop hit that won two Grammys. It included the hits "Jesus Take the Wheel," "Inside Your Heaven" and "Before He Cheats." Her 2007 album Carnival Ride debuted at the top of the country and Billboard charts and included the hits "So Small." Inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2008, her third album, Play On was released in late 2009 and included the hit "Cowboy Casanova."

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