On This Day: Carrie Underwood Wins ‘American Idol’ in 2005

by Halle Ames

On this day, sixteen years ago, Carrie Underwood punched her ticket for greatness as she won the 2005 season of American Idol

Carrie Underwood: From Farm to Fame

In 2005, we first met the nervous 21-year-old Carrie Underwood, who has dreams of being on TV, but not for her incredible singing abilities. She was a journalism and mass communication student at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. 

Carole, Carrie’s mother, thought the fame associated with the show might help Carrie secure a broadcasting job after graduation.

However, Carrie jumped on her first flight to Los Angeles to try out for American Idol. She selected the 1991 hit “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt to sing for her tryout.  

Although Underwood is a household name, she says that she would change a thing about that first day on the set of American Idol… Well, maybe besides the chicken impression…

“I might pick a song by Carrie Underwood,” the 38-year-old artist laughs. “I don’t know! It’s hard to think if I were starting all over again what I would do, but I sang a song by Bonnie Raitt in front of the judges for the first time. I might just stick to Bonnie Raitt.”

Carrie Underwood is a country music icon, with eight albums and 21 number one singles. It’s hard to look back with that kind of success and wish you would have done something different with your life. Even as an awkward small town, southern girl with stage fright, she has been able to conquer her fears and grasp her dreams. 

“Trying out for American Idol. That was something that was so outside my comfort zone, and I just took this big leap, and it has worked out in the most incredible ways. I will never, ever regret that.” 

American Idol Finale

For Carrie Underwood’s final performance on American Idol, she beautifully sang her own song, “Inside Your Heaven,” which was released in the weeks following the finale. She beat out her stiff competition, Alabama singer Bo Bice. 

The only words the American Idol champion could muster up after were “Thank you!” as she sobs with happiness. 

Even after the exciting win, Carole Underwood still didn’t think it would go much further than that. Let alone that her daughter would be one of the most prominent names in the music industry.

“It didn’t really dawn on me at that particular moment what was possibly going to happen,” Underwood said. “Up to this time, it was just a competition. She won, and then my next thought [was] ‘Well, where do we go from here?’ You know? ‘I don’t know how to do anything about any of this.'” 

Oh, what little you know, Mrs. Carole! Your baby girl is going to do big things in her life.