Carrie Underwood Calls American Idol the “Most Horrifying Thing”

Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood admitted that competing on American Idol was the "most horrifying thing" she'd done to date. Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic

Carrie Underwood may be a veteran on stage now, but back when she was getting her start on American Idol, the country crooner was anything but confident.

Idol was probably the most horrifying thing, because I had never been away from my hometown like that before,” she told Parade magazine in a new interview. “I was in L.A., of all places, by myself, putting myself out there, which is a scary thing for anybody to do. My first plane ride was when I was going out to L.A. alone.”

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Underwood, 32, was just 22 years old when she won the singing competition’s fourth season in 2005 (Bo Bice was the runner-up that season).

Carrie Underwood American Idol
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And even though the Storyteller singer now has seven Grammys under her belt and album sales of 56 million worldwide — making her one of the most successful and enduring Idol winners, alongside season one champ Kelly Clarkson — she admitted that she was bracing to walk away from the competition with a good experience and little else.

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“I always kept in my head, ‘If nothing else ever comes of this, I got to do the coolest thing ever and I won American Idol,’” she told the mag. “I was like, ‘Okay, I will just have fun with this and save up as much money as I can and finish school and get a real job.’ Because I am always a practical thinker and would never allow myself to think it would turn out okay all the time.”

The “Before He Cheats” singer, who is mom to Isaiah, 7 months, with husband Mike Fisher, added that despite her superstardom, she still gets nervous during performances.

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“I still haven’t figured out how to talk to the audience,” she said. “I just want to sing. I am a little awkward when it comes to speaking, because I am a shy person.”  

One thing that does help calm her nerves, she explained, is to have a conversation with herself.

“Talking yourself up is a big thing,” she said. “People might think you are nuts talking to yourself and telling yourself how awesome you are, but it helps to say, ‘I am strong.’”

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