The country girl born in Oklahoma got her big break in 2004 when she auditioned for American Idol with a cover of “I Can’t Make You Love Me” by Bonnie Raitt. She was a frontrunner on the show from the beginning, with judge Simon Cowell predicting that not only would she win that season, but that she would go on to be the best-selling winner. Cowell was absolutely right, and Underwood won the fourth season of the show in May of 2005.
Her mainstream music career took off with the release of her first single, “Inside Your Heaven,” a month after her American Idol win. The single debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the first country singer to ever debut at the No. 1 spot, and was the first country song to top the chart in five years.
Her debut album, Some Hearts, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top Country Albums charts and No. 2 on the overall Billboard 200. The album had the biggest country debut since 1991, was the best-selling album in America in 2006, and has been certified 8x platinum, among numerous other accolades.
“Jesus, Take the Wheel” was Underwood’s second single and also went on to top the Billboard Hot Country songs charts, and was certified twice platinum. “Before He Cheats,” which would go on to become Underwood’s most famous and most performed track, was released later that year, and was the first country song to ever become certified double platinum, but has since become certified 5x platinum.
The next year, Underwood embarked on her first solo headlining tour across America and won numerous awards for her singles as well as for her country debut during the music award show season, including four Grammy nominations and two wins for Best New Artist and Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
She released her sophomore album Carnival Ride in October 2007, which mirrored the success of her debut album as it debuted at No. 1 on numerous charts in both the US and Canada and has been certified 4x platinum. Her singles form the album, “So Small,” “All-American Girl,” and “Just a Dream” were all commercially successful, reaching No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart and becoming certified platinum.
Her third album Play On was released in late 2009, and also debuted on top of the Billboard 200 and Top Country Albums lists. The album’s lead single, “Cowboy Casanova,” went on to become one of her most successful and most played songs, and became the fastest number one of her career at the time. “Undo It,” another single from the album, also went on to top the country charts and became certified platinum, and is tied with “Cowboy Casanova” for her third-most played song!
Her fourth album, Blown Away, was also a commercial success. The track of the same name was a huge success, became certified triple platinum, and is also the artist’s tenth-most performed song! “Two Black Cadillacs,” another single, became Underwood’s 17th song to chart in the top 10 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart.
Her fifth album, Storyteller, was yet another success for Underwood, and debuted at No. 1 on the Top Country albums chart. She took two years off to recover from an unfortunate injury, and released her next album Cry Pretty, in 2018 when it became her seventh consecutive album to debut at No. 1 on the country charts.