As of Monday (May 25), it has been exactly 10 years since Carrie Underwood was crowned the winner of “American Idol” Season 4.
Since then, she’s taken the country music world by storm, earning 11 Academy of Country Music Awards, seven Grammys, an induction into the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville and countless other honors. She has also sold the most albums of any “Idol” alum at 14.6 million.
To celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Underwood’s “Idol” win, the singer herself posted a thank you to the show on Instagram, so let’s take a look back at her 6 best “Idol” performances, in chronological order.
6. Audition: ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’
Carrie’s a capella version of this Bonnie Raitt classic is absolutely gorgeous. After she’s finished, judge Simon Cowell says, “I was saying to somebody the
other day that I was surprised we haven’t found a good country singer in
this competition yet.”
He had no idea.
5. Top 24: ‘Could’ve Been’
If you watched Season 4 of “Idol,” this one might surprise you. It’s not one of Carrie’s performances that is often talked about. However, watching the season, this was the moment we knew Underwood was something special. Her audition was beautiful, but the judges see a lot of good auditions.
But Top 24 is go time. The Idols are finally performing live for America’s votes and a lot of them can’t handle the pressure or make a terrible song choice. But Carrie nailed this song and declared herself a frontrunner — a spot she would never relinquish.
4. Top 11: ‘Alone’
This is Underwood’s watershed “Idol” moment. Not only did she break out of her country shell and blow the roof off on this Heart hit, but it was when Cowell made this declaration: “Carrie, you’re not just the girl to beat, you’re the person to beat. I will make a prediction — not only will you win this show, you will sell more records than any other previous ‘American Idol’ winner.”
He did not know at the time he could add “or any future one.”
3. Top 10: ‘Independence Day’
Carrie said in her audition that Martina McBride is her musical hero/influence, so it was fitting that she got to perform one of McBride’s most iconic songs. She would go on to repeat this performance at the finale.
2. Top 5: ‘Bless the Broken Road,’ current Billboard week
Underwood has become known for her boot-stompin’, car-bashin’ big numbers, but the girl can also do beautiful ballads. This Rascal Flatts cover is the second best ballad she did during her “Idol” run …
1. Top 3: ‘Crying’
… this was her best. At the time, it seemed like a weird choice for Clive Davis to make for Carrie’s first song of the Top 3 performances, but it actually wasn’t weird at all. The way Underwood builds the song from quiet to heartbreak to gut-wrenching pain is terrific.