The seven-time Grammy winner, 37, appeared on the 2005 season of the hit singing competition. She would ultimately go on to win, propelling her career to the immense heights she enjoys today. However, she revealed in a guest post she penned for Guideposts magazine that she almost gave into fear and skipped the trip to Hollywood.
“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,’” she explained. “I checked online. The closest auditions were being held in St. Louis.”
Underwood believed that the roughly six-hour drive to St. Louis was “too far” and therefore her dream to audition was “out of the question.” However, when her mom agreed to take her, she opted to give singing professionally on the show a shot.
“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,” the star explained. “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.”
When the time came for her to actually leave her hometown for Los Angeles, she said that she broke down on the way to the airport when the reality of what she was about to do hit her all at once.
“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 said. “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.’”
Luckily the star found her courage and agreed to make the trip that would ultimately lead her to an “American Idol” win. She credits her ability to persevere despite her own fear with her small-town upbringing.
“Growing up on a farm with loving parents and our church family defined my values. A small town with good people helped form me. I was rooted in something solid before I got to spread my wings,” she explained.
Underwood concluded: “I might be one of those stars myself these days, but Mike [Fisher] 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.”