19 Years Ago: Carrie Underwood Wins ‘American Idol’

19 years ago, on May 25, 2005, Carrie Underwood was crowned the Season 4 winner of American Idol. The win kicked off an unbelievable career for the Oklahoma native, who remains one of the most successful American Idol contestants of all time.

Underwood beat out Bo Bice to be crowned the winner. As soon as she won, an emotional Underwood performed her debut single, “Inside Your Heaven.” Watch her performance here.

Underwood was studying journalism in college when she auditioned for Idol, after seeing a commercial that would change her life.

“The summer before my senior year, I was home one day, watching TV — the one in the living room — and saw a news segment about people auditioning for the show American Idol. I checked online. The closest auditions were being held in St. Louis,” Underwood recalled in an essay she shared with Guideposts.

It was Underwood’s mother who offered to drive her to St. Louis, never imagining that the one trip would forever alter the trajectory of her daughter’s life.

“We never even considered that she could win it at all,” Carole admitted on the Today Show. “But at least maybe she could have some face and name recognition, and she would get to be an anchor or something on one of our local TV shows in Tulsa.”

Even after Underwood won American Idol, her parents were still unaware of how quickly her life would completely change.

“It didn’t really dawn on me at that particular moment what was possibly going to happen,” Carole 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? … I don’t know how to do anything about any of this.'”

Only three years after Underwood won Idol, she was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.

“This is what we used to watch when I was little, and where I learned about people of the past and the present, and newcomers coming in and singing,” Underwood said at the time. “It’s something that’s been a huge part of country music, and it’s wonderful to think that I’m going to be a part of it, an official part of it, not just showing up and singing every once in a while.”

Underwood just resumed her REFLECTION: The Las Vegas Residency at Resorts World Theatre, which was extended once again due to fan demand. The mother of two originally launched her residency in 2021, designing the show by looking at the careers of two of her biggest musical role models: Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire,

“Sharing a legacy of putting on proper shows that, like Dolly’s and Reba’s, are extra — meaning filled with more of the glitz, glamour, extravagant wardrobe and staging that’s a part of our lives already — and tell a full, emotion and vibe-driven story with a beginning, middle and end,” Underwood told The Tennessean. “I’m not just showing up and singing. Instead, I’m immersing the audience in song.”

Find all of Underwood’s music and upcoming shows at CarrieUnderwoodOfficial.com.