Born March 10th, 1983, the first country American Idol, Carrie Underwood grew up in the small town of Checotah, OK, and began singing with her church at the tender age of three. Throughout her childhood, she also performed at functions for the Lion's Club and Old Settlers Day, and eventually at festivals in several states. Along with developing her singing, Underwood learned to play guitar and piano. She graduated from high school as her class salutatorian and majored in mass communication at Northeastern State College with an eye on a career in broadcast journalism, but continued her singing career throughout her studies. As a senior just a few credits short of her degree, Underwood heard about the auditions for the 2005 season of American Idol. She tried out for the show at the St. Louis, MO, auditions, and her innocent charm and pure, pretty voice ended up winning her not only a place among the 12 finalists, but the title of 2005's American Idol.
Underwood's debut single, Inside Your Heaven, was released that summer, and she appeared on the American Idols Live! tour, before recording her debut album in Nashville. Some Hearts was released in the fall of 2005; the album debuted at number one on the Billboard Country charts and eventually became the top-selling album of 2006. She also won two Grammy Awards, back-to-back, for Best Female Country Vocal Performance, for "Jesus, Take the Wheel" and "Before He Cheats."
Her next three albums, Carnival Ride (2007), Play On (2009) and Blown Away (2012), all hit number one on both the Country chart and the Billboard Top 200. She was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2008. Underwood released a Greatest Hits album in 2014.
Underwood turned to acting in 2010, with a guest spot on How I Met Your Mother and made her film debut in Soul Surfer the following year. In 2013, she landed the lead role of Maria in NBC's The Sound of Music Live!, playing the role for a huge television audience and earning praise for her vocal performance. In 2014, she played herself in an episode of Nashville.