Noting her own innocence, country icon Carrie Underwood recalls a hilarious response she once gave Ryan Seacrest on the notion of stardom.
Writing candidly for Guideposts, Carrie Underwood “reveals how her small-town upbringing shaped her faith, career and family life.” Her in-depth words reveal her entire journey – from ‘American Idol’ hopeful – to Queen of Country.
As she dives in, Underwood reveals a telling – and hilarious – exchange she held with ‘Idol’ host, Ryan Seacrest later into her audition process. In turn, Seacrest proved integral in opening her eyes to what was ahead.
Carrie Underwood Still “Grateful for Her Innocence”
In Underwood’s own words, auditioning for ‘Idol’ was an organic development. Nothing fell into her lap throughout. Instead, her story is similar to many other stars who’ve come from the show’s pantheon. The difference for her, however, is the level of success the reality show brought her.
While in L.A. during the later part of auditions, Seacrest was interviewing the rising star.
“In L.A., Ryan Seacrest interviewed me and asked if I’d seen any stars,” Underwood notes. A common question for Seacrest to ask newcomers to the home of Hollywood.
Underwood, however, was just that – a newcomer. Naive. Innocent.
So how did she respond to Seacrest asking her if she’d seen any stars?
“No, it’s been too cloudy…”
Looking back, she knows now that she was “not getting that he meant famous actors and singers.”
For Underwood, though, “that naivete, that innocence, is something I’ve come to be grateful for.”
That innocence is something she holds tightly to, as well – for both herself and her growing family.
“Growing up on a farm with loving parents and our church family defined my values,” she clarifies of her makings. “A small town with good people helped form me. I was rooted in something solid before I got to spread my wings.”
“I might be one of those stars myself these days,” she notes of her own megastar status, “but Mike and I do all we can to raise our two boys with values like the ones I grew up with in Checotah. Down-to-earth, church on Sundays, plenty of grass and trees and space outside for them to roam. At night, when we put the boys to bed, we pray out loud with them. Just talking to God, letting them know he hears their every word.”
Underwood: “I was Terrified”
In addition, few topics are left off the table for Underwood. About half-way through her extensive op-ed, the country icon recounts the exact moment she knew she wanted to audition for ‘American Idol’. At the time of Underwood’s interest – her own college days – ‘Idol’ was the most popular reality television show on air. Tens of millions of people watched live every single week. during it’s run. This, however, didn’t seem to impact her initial decision.
“It would be easy to say the rest is history, that it was meant to be. But it didn’t feel like that at the time. Going through a slew of auditions in St. Louis, getting the “golden ticket” to Hollywood, every contestant’s dream, I was terrified,” she continues. “Every time I had to sing in front of the judges, I’d get nervous the way I did in church that first time. Then I’d say a prayer and leave it in God’s hands,” the devout Christian star notes.
Furthermore, Underwood was “so distracted that when Mom and Dad were driving to the airport to go to Hollywood, I realized I’d forgotten lip liner.” This is when the enormity of her rise through the ranks of the show’s auditions hit her – all at once.
“We stopped at a grocery store, and Mom dashed inside to buy some. All at once, it was just too much. Going out to Los Angeles by myself, competing with all those other people who were so talented. I burst into tears,” she recalls.
“My dad turned to me in the backseat. “Carrie,” he said, “we can go home right now, and we don’t ever have to talk about it again,” she notes of her father, Stephen Underwood.
“I took a deep breath,” Carrie follows.
“No,” I said at last. “I’ll go.”
And from here, the rest is, in fact, history.
From here, she goes on to detail her entire rise from simple country girl – to ‘American Idol’ winner – to one of the biggest stars country music has ever known.