2005: 'American Idol'

 

Carrie Underwood auditioned for 'American Idol' in St. Louis, singing Bonnie Raitt's 'I Can't Make You Love Me' and then saying, "I may have just clucked my way to Hollywood." Few contestants have so thoroughly dominated a season. She was never in the bottom three, and judge Simon Cowell predicted early on that she would win. Nigel Lythgoe later said that she won each week by such a large margin that the show's viewership would have diminished had the results been revealed. Her fans, known as "Carrie's Care Bears," not only propelled her to victory, they've made her amongst the top selling 'Idol' winners of all time.

She won on May 25, 2005 and scored a million-dollar recording contract and a Mustang convertible. Her debut single 'Inside Your Heaven' was a hit on pop radio, but a dud in country. It wasn't 'til 'Jesus Take the Wheel' that the country audience began to call her their own.