Thursday, June 4, 2009

Carrie Underwood

Arguably the most successful contestant in the history of American Idol’s seven-year run, Carrie Underwood has deftly managed to overcome the stigma of her reality-show origins to establish herself as a record-breaking and award-winning country singer. Her first album, Some Hearts, became the fastest-selling debut country album since SoundScan started tracking record sales in 1991, and quickly became the best-selling debut album by a female as well.

Her sophomore album, 2007's Carnival Ride, included four hit singles. She’s also won three Grammys, transforming her from up-and-comer to superstar.Carrie Underwood’s record-breaking 2008 run is certainly impressive in its own right -- she did, after all, earn her third consecutive Female Vocalist of the Year award from the Country Music Association, yet it’s her social consciousness and down-to-earth personality that have assured her a place on this list.

Carrie Underwood’s contribution to American Idol’s charitable offshoot Idol Gives Back, a cover of George Michael’s “Praying for Time,” shot to No. 3 less than a day after its release, and she also performed alongside (among others) Beyonce and Miley Cyrus in support of the anti-cancer campaign Stand Up to Cancer. Her ongoing support of the military and passionate views on vegetarianism have earned her a special place in our hearts.